Much of Puget Sound is set to reopen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1 after state fisheries managers found that enough remained in the recreational catch to open sooner than in past years for the fall and winter season.
“We’re only halfway through processing (catch figures) for the summer season, but even if you look at what’s left to catch we’ll still stay within the (total season catch) guideline,” said Rich Childers, a state Fish and Wildlife crab resource manager.
Places opening daily from Tuesday through Dec. 31 are Neah Bay (Marine Catch Area 4), Sekiu (5), eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (6), San Juan Islands (7), Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay (8-1), Port Susan and Port Gardner (8-2), northern Puget Sound/Admiralty Inlet (9), Hood Canal (12), and southern Puget Sound (12).
The season will remain closed in central Puget Sound (10) and south-central Puget Sound (11).
“About 210,000 Puget Sound crab endorsements were sold, and that is a lot of people,” Childers said. “It was an OK summer of crabbing although catches were down except for Marina Areas 6, 9, 10 and 11.”
Preliminary catch estimates for this past summer was about 1.733-million pounds, but could change since not all the data has been finalized just yet. In 2012 the estimate was 1.911-million; 2011, 2.359-million; and 2010, 1.675-million.
Daily catch limit is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Crabbers may keep six red rock crab of either sex daily, and must measure at least 5 inches across.
A winter catch card endorsement is required, and are free to those who have already purchased a license and can be obtained at license vendors across the state.