THE FOLLOWING IS A WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE AND PRESS RELEASE
Nooksack River closing to hatchery steelhead retention
Action: Closes the mainstem Nooksack and all forks to hatchery steelhead retention.
Species affected: Hatchery steelhead.
- The Nooksack River from the mouth to the confluence of the North and South Forks.
- The North Fork Nooksack from the Highway 9 Bridge to Nooksack Falls.
- The Middle Fork Nooksack from the mouth to city of Bellingham diversion dam.
- The South Fork Nooksack from the mouth to Skookum Creek.
Effective dates: Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, 2020.
Reasons for action: Hatchery steelhead returns to the Nooksack River and Kendall Hatchery are not meeting escapement goals. This closure is necessary to ensure hatchery broodstock goals are met.
Additional Information: The fishery may reopen earlier if broodstock needs are met. Other gamefish fisheries will remain open. On Feb. 1, hatchery steelhead retention on the North Fork only will reopen. Please refer to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/
Everett Flats portion of Marine Area 8-2 to close during January recreational crab fishery extension
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today that the Everett Flats portion of Marine Area 8-2 will close to recreational crab harvest Jan. 1, 2020, and remain closed through the end of the month.
Historically, a large proportion of the crab inhabiting the Everett Flats portion of Marine Area 8-2 have been softshell after December. Under the current management plan, co-managers agreed to close this shallow region to all crab harvest after Dec. 31 to protect softshell crab during their critical molt period.
Earlier this month, state and tribal co-managers came to an agreement that the crab abundance in Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2 would support allowing state recreational crabbing to remain open through the end of January. Crabbers will be able to crab in Marine Area 8-2 outside of Everett Flats, including Port Susan, all areas of Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), a portion of Marine Area 9 between the Hood Canal Bridge and a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point (Port Gamble, Port Ludlow), and in Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of Ayock point seven days a week through Jan. 31.
The Everett Flats closure will include the portion of catch area east of a line from Howarth Park due north to the south end of Gedney Island and the portion east of a line from the north end of Gedney Island to Camano Head, and south of a line drawn from Camano Head to Hermosa Point on the Tulalip reservation.
A valid shellfish or combination license is required to harvest throughout the remainder of the season, and Dungeness crab caught through Dec. 31, 2019 must be recorded on winter catch record cards. However, recreational crabbers participating in January’s extended crab season in Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2 or 12 do not need to record Dungeness crab on a catch record card.
Other reminders for the recreational crabber:
- Setting or pulling traps from a vessel is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset.
- The daily limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches.
- Crabbers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day with a minimum carapace width of 5 inches, and six Tanner crab of either sex with a minimum carapace of 4 1/2 inches.
- All 2019 winter crab catch record cards are due to WDFW by Feb. 4, 2020.
For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/catch-record-card/dungeness.
For more information on crabbing regulations, visit WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab.