Recreational shrimp fishermen will have more time to ply the waters of Puget Sound in 2013 after the state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a new management policy. Approved at the commission’s Dec. 14-15 meeting, the new policy allocates 70 percent of the Puget Sound shrimp catch recreational fishermen.
The news is actually a mixed bag for South Sound anglers.
Under the new policy, 100 percent of spot shrimp resource will be allocated to the recreational sector in marine areas 11 (Tacoma) and 13 (deep South Sound). The new season will last five days with 4,000 pounds of shrimp available for harvest.
Shrimping in Hood Canal will be open four days with an allowable harvest of 85,000 pounds.
While that is an expansion in Marine Area 11, open just two days earlier this year, and Hood Canal (open two days this year), it will be a reduction for Marine Area 13. The waters off Olympia were open almost a month this year.
The biggest expansions of fishing opportunities will occur in the North Sound. Fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca could be open for 31 additional days, while fishing in the San Juan Islands could be open for 26 additional days of recreational shrimp fishing next year.
“Although the beneficiaries of the new policy-allocation shift do not directly benefit shrimp fishers from South Puget Sound and Hood Canal, it will benefit shrimpers who may want to drop shrimp pots from Everett north, through the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca,” said Tony Floor, fishing affairs director for the Northwest Marine Trade Association.
All told, the allowable recreational catch will be 182,660 pounds, while commercial anglers will be allowed a catch of 77,840 pounds. Last season, the recreational allocation was less than 50 percent.
“This new shift provided by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, follows their direction two years ago, reallocating a greater share of the non-Indian Dungeness crab resource to sport fishers,” Floor said.
“The sport fishing industry is extremely pleased with the commission’s action, and once again, it demonstrates their recognition of the economic importance of recreational fishing in our state,” he added.
Recreational fishing proponents had argued that expanding the seasons would make it worthwhile for people to spend the money to buy pots, bait and other gear.Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure