Outdoors

Local Puget Sound waters close to crabbing Monday at sunset

Fishermen in most areas of Puget Sound, including Olympia and Tacoma, will be able to catch crab through Monday when the summer season closes.
Fishermen in most areas of Puget Sound, including Olympia and Tacoma, will be able to catch crab through Monday when the summer season closes. AP file, 2011

Recreational crabbing in the waters off Tacoma and Olympia, and the majority of Puget Sound, will close at sunset on Monday.

And with the upcoming close to the season, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding people they must file their summer catch reports by midnight Oct. 1.

“Catch reports play a major role in determining how much crab is still available for harvest during the winter season,” Rich Childers, the department’s shellfish policy lead, said in a news release. "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."

Only two areas of Puget Sound will remain open after Labor Day: Marine areas 7-North and 7-South near the San Juan Islands. The two areas will be open Thursdays through Mondays through Sept. 28. Crabbing in those areas will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and all crab gear must be removed from the water.

People who fish for crab in those two areas after Monday must record their catch on winter catch record cards. Winter cards, free to those with crab endorsements, are available at sporting goods stores and other license vendors across the state.

Childers said the department will announce in early October any winter crab seasons for Puget Sound. This decision will be made after the shellfish managers gather the catch data and complete an assessment of the summer fishery.

Crab fishermen who fail to file a catch reports on time will face a $10 fine when they purchase a 2016 Puget Sound crab endorsement.

REPORT YOUR CATCH

REPORTS: Crabbers can submit catch record cards to the State Department of Fish and Wildlife by mail at CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. They also can file a report online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound_crab_catch.html from Tuesday through Oct. 1.

INFORMATION: For more information about recreational crabbing in Puget Sound, go to wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab.

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