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Puget Sound reopen for crabbing

Four areas around Puget Sound will soon be opened seven days a week for crabbing.

At 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 15, marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) and 12 (Hood Canal) will reopen for sport crabbing through Jan. 2, 2011. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) decided to reopen the four areas after determining that sufficient crab are available for harvest.

Crab fishing will also remain open seven days a week through Jan. 2 in marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu), and 13 (south Puget Sound), where the fishery has continued uninterrupted since June 18.

Sport crabbing will not reopen this year in marine areas 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) and 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island), where the summer catch reached the annual quota, said Rich Childers, WDFW’s shellfish policy coordinator.

All crab caught in the Puget Sound recreational fishery after Sept. 1 should be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Jan. 2. Those catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2011. More information on catch record cards is available here. 

“It’s important that people submit their reports, even if they didn’t catch any crab,” Childers said. “A report showing no crab caught is just as important in calculating the catch as one that shows lots of crab caught.”

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness male crab in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided they measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available on the WDFW website.

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