Most areas of Puget Sound will reopen for recreational crab fishing tomorrow, after assessments by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found there are still plenty of the tasty crustaceans left after the summer crabbing season.
Summer catch report cards are also due by midnight tomorrow, Oct. 1.
Waters reopening to sport crabbing at 8 a.m. Oct. 1 include marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 12 (Hood Canal) and 13 (South Puget Sound).
In each area, crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Dec. 31.
Sport crabbing will not reopen this year in marine areas 10 (Seattle/Bremerton Area) and 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island). The annual quotas in those areas were reached during the summer fishery, said Rich Childers, WDFW shellfish manager.
The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, male only, with a minimum shell width of six inches. Fishers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex daily, measuring at least five inches across. Additional information is available on WDFW’s website.
All Dungeness crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Dec. 31. Winter cards – free to those with crab endorsements – are available at license vendors across the state and are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2014.
“Catch reports play a major role in determining how much crab is still available for harvest during the winter season,” Childers said. “It’s important that we receive reports from everyone licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound – whether or not they caught crab this year.”
Crabbers can submit catch record cards to WDFW by mail at CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. They can also report their catch online through tomorrow.
Crabbers who fail to file their catch reports on time will face a $10 fine when they purchase a 2014 Puget Sound crab endorsement. Dungeness crab caught in any area of Puget Sound after Sept. 2 must be recorded on winter catch records.
Additional information about catch record cards is available on WDFW’s website.