Those areas of Puget Sound still open for recreational winter crabbing will close at sunset Monday. After that all sport crabbers licensed to fish for crab in the Sound will have until Feb. 1 to report their winter catch.
The winter crab season has been open in marine areas 12 (Hood Canal) and 13 (South Sound) since Oct. 13. Marine Area 11 (Tacoma) did not reopen after the summer season because anglers caught the quota for the area.
With the end of the winter crab season Monday, all Puget Sound marine areas will be closed to recreational crabbing until next summer.
State fishing rules require that all sport crabbers with winter catch record cards submit their catch reports for the winter season to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, even if they did not catch any crab.
Crab fishermen are reminded that if they fail to submit a winter catch report, they will receive a $10 fine when they purchase their 2013 crab endorsement, said Rich Childers, state shellfish policy lead.
“By submitting their catch data, crabbers play an important role in managing the Puget Sound crab fishery,” Childers said in a prepared statement. “We need to hear from everyone who was issued a winter catch card – including from those who didn’t catch any crab.”
To submit catch reports, crabbers may send their catch record card to the department by mail or file their report on a special web page on the department’s licensing web site. The mailing address is WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. The online reporting system will be available Tuesday-Feb. 1 at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound_crab_catch.html.