For most of the Puget Sound, recreational crab fishing begins Friday. But those wishing to drop their pots in the waters of Bellingham, Anacortes and the San Juan Islands will have to wait until July 15.

Late last year, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife extended the open season for recreational crab fishing for most of the Puget Sound. The exception is Marine Area 7, where the season opens July 15 in its southern portion (San Juan Islands/Bellingham/Anacortes) and Aug. 15 in its northern portion (Point Roberts/Blaine/Northeast Lummi Island). 

Crabbing is allowed Thursday through Monday, and both seasons will go through Sept. 30.

Early this year, the department found that in Marine Area 7, the crabs’ shells weren’t hardening as quickly as in other areas of the sound, so the opening date was pushed back, said Steve Burton, shellfish biologist with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The daily catch limit — five Dungeness crabs, male only, and six red rock crab of either sex — will remain the same throughout the Puget Sound.

Dungeness crab must be at least 61⁄4 inches across, while red rock crab must be at least 5 inches.

Crabbers are also required to record their Dungeness catch on a catch record card.

Another change this year is that there will be no limit for the total take throughout the season, which will likely lead to a bigger overall catch for recreational crabbers and a smaller one for commercial harvesters.

Detailed information on crabbing regulations is available on the Department of Fish and Wildlife website.


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