Most areas of Puget Sound will close to recreational crab fishing on Labor Day (Sept. 3), when anyone harvesting crab from a boat must retrieve their gear by one hour after sunset.
Crabbers fishing from shore or from piers have until the end of the day on Sept. 3 to retrieve their gear.
All sport fishers licensed to fish for Dungeness crab anywhere in Puget Sound have through Oct. 1 to submit summer catch reports to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The only two areas of the Sound that will remain open to crab fishing after Labor Day are marine areas 7-North and 7-South near the San Juan Islands. These two areas will remain open Thursdays through Mondays each week through Sept. 30. Sport fishers who crab in those two areas after Sept. 3 must record their catch on winter catch record cards, which are available at sporting goods stores and other license vendors across the state.
Crabbers are reminded that marine areas 11 and 13 are not open for crab fishing to allow Dungeness crab populations to rebuild.
Summer catch record cards can be submitted to WDFW by mail at CRC Unit, P.O. Box 43142, Olympia, WA 98504-3142. Crab fishers can also report their catch online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login from Sept. 4 through Oct. 1.
Crabbers who fail to file their catch reports on time will face a $10 fine when they purchase a 2019 Puget Sound crab endorsement.
“Catch reports play a major role in determining how much crab is still available for harvest during the winter season,” said Bob Sizemore, WDFW’s shellfish policy lead. “It’s important that we receive reports from everyone licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound – whether or not they caught crab this year.”
Sizemore said WDFW will announce winter crab seasons for Puget Sound in early October, after completing its assessment of the summer fishery.