This year's recreational crabbing season reopened Saturday in most marine areas of Puget Sound, including waters of the San Juan Islands.
The openings were approved by state fishery managers after summer catch assessments by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife indicated more crab are available for harvest, according to WDFW's Rich Childers, shellfish policy coordinator.
Areas now open to sport crabbing are: marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 12 (Hood Canal), and 13 (South Puget Sound).
Recreational crabbing will be allowed seven days a week in each of those areas, through Dec. 31.
Daily catch-limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.
All crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Dec. 31. Winter cards - free to those with crab endorsements - are available at license vendors across the state.
Winter catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2013. For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/crc.html .