Winter recreational crabbing will open through end of January
January 2, 2020
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced recently that two additional marine areas of Puget Sound have re-opened for recreational crab fishing and remain open through Jan. 31, 2020.
The portion of Marine Area 9 between the Hood Canal Bridge and a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point (Port Gamble, Port Ludlow) and the portion of Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected due east from Ayock Point opened on Dec. 20 and will remain open through Jan. 31, 2020.
After evaluation of crab harvest and December test fishery data, state and tribal co-managers agree that the crab abundance in these areas can support additional harvest, allowing the state recreational fishery to remain open through the end of January.
In each of these two areas, crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Jan. 31. Sport crabbers are reminded that setting or pulling traps from a vessel is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset. Any Dungeness crab caught in the fishery from Sept. 3 through Dec. 31, 2019 must still be recorded immediately on winter catch record cards, which are valid through Dec. 31.
Anglers 15 years and older must have a current Washington shellfish or combination license valid through March 31, 2020, to participate. Licenses can be purchased by telephone at 1-866-246-9453, at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, or at hundreds of license vendors across the state.
After the conclusion of the regular winter harvest season on Dec. 31, 2019, winter catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 4, 2020. For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/catch-record-card/dungeness.
Between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2020 recreational crabbers will not be required to possess a Puget Sound Dungeness crab endorsement or record Dungeness crab retained on a Catch Record Card when crabbing in the portions of Puget Sound that are open after December 31. (The portions of Puget Sound open between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2020 are the sections of Marine Areas 9 and 12 described above as well as Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2).
The daily limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Crabbers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day with a minimum carapace width of 5 inches, and six Tanner crab of either sex with a minimum carapace of 4 1/2 inches. Additional information is available on WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab.