Opening weekend of summer crabbing, 7.1.18

Cyle Thom of Camano Island shows off his catch during the opening weekend of the summer crabbing season on Sunday, July 1, 2018, at Camano Island's Madrona Beach.

Fireworks might not be the only spectacle garnering “ooohs” and “aaahs” this Independence Day.

A boatload of crabbers will hit the area waters in search of stuffed pots starting Thursday — the first day of the crabbing season.

“Crabbing in the northern portions of Puget Sound has been very good and should be good again this year,” said Bob Sizemore, shellfish policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Summer crab-fishing seasons in marine areas 8-1 and 8-2 (around Camano Island), and most other areas, will be open Thursdays through Mondays each week. However, officials urge crabbers to be aware that no sport crab fisheries will be open Tuesdays or Wednesdays. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.

Crabbing rules

The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.

Puget Sound crabbers are required to record their harvest of Dungeness crab on their catch record cards immediately after retaining crab. Separate catch record cards are issued for the summer and winter seasons. See wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab for updates.

Crab fishers may not set or pull shellfish gear from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise.

To allow Dungeness crab populations to rebuild, marine areas in south Puget Sound and Hood Canal (Areas 11, 12 and 13) are again closed this season.

Crab pot placement

State agencies are urging crabbers to steer clear of ferry lanes. In recent years, vessels had to be repaired after crabbing lines were caught in the propellers, resulting in nearly 800 canceled rides.

Snohomish County officials said about 12,000 pots are lost in the Puget Sound area every year.

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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