Recreational crabbing in areas of Puget Sound still open, including the waters of the deep South Sound, will close at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
After that, all sport crabbers licensed to fish for crab in the Sound will have until Feb. 1 to report their winter catch.
State fishing rules require that all sport crabbers with winter catch record cards submit a catch report for the winter season to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. That includes those people who did not keep any crab.
With Tuesday’s end to the winter crab season, all Puget Sound marine areas will be closed to recreational crabbing until summer 2014. Crabbing in Marine Area 11 (Tacoma) closed Labor Day weekend, while crabbing in Marine Area 13 (Olympia) will close Tuesday.
Sport crabbers are reminded that if they fail to submit a winter catch report, they will receive a $10 fine when they purchase their 2014 crab endorsement, Rich Childers, shellfish policy lead, said in a department news release.
“By submitting their catch data, crabbers play an important role in managing the Puget Sound crab fishery,” Childers said in the release. “We need to hear from everyone who was issued a winter catch card — including from those who didn’t keep 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 website. The mailing address is WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
The online reporting system will be available Wednesday-Feb. 1 at https://fishhunt.dfw. wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound _crab_catch.html.