All areas of Puget Sound will close to recreational crab fishing at sunset Friday. After that all sport crabbers licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound will have 13 days to report their winter catch.
State fishing rules require that all sport crabbers submit catch reports for the winter season to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife by Jan. 15, even if they did not catch any crab.
Catch reports are an important tool in managing the Puget Sound crab fishery, said Rich Childers, shellfish policy lead, in a news release. The agency needs to hear from everyone, including those who didn’t catch any crab, because more information provides greater accuracy in estimating the catch and developing future fishing seasons, he said.
To submit s catch report, crabbers may either send their catch record card to WDFW by mail, or file their report online. Catch record cards may be mailed to WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
Sport crabbers who file their catch reports by the Jan. 15 deadline will be entered in a drawing for one of 10 free combination fishing licenses, which allow the holder to fish for a variety of freshwater and saltwater species during the 2009-10 season, the release said.
Childers also reminded Puget Sound crabbers of two important changes that will occur starting with the next crab season. First, crabbers who fail to report their 2009 summer or winter catch will be required to pay $10 before a license vendor will issue a new catch record card for the 2010 Puget Sound crab season. Second, crabbers will have the option to decline receiving a winter catch card when purchasing their 2009 fishing license. This will help them avoid a fine for not reporting a winter catch, Childers said.