Crabbing Opens July 2 In Parts Of Puget Sound, But Later Off Seattle


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced the Puget Sound summer crab fishing season, which gets underway July 2 with openings in several marine areas.


Crab seasons are scheduled to open as follows:

  • Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), and 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet): Open July 2 – Sept. 7, Thursday – Monday.
  • Marine Area 7 South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham): Open July 16 – Sept. 28, Thursday-Monday.
  • Marine Area 7 North (Gulf of Georgia): Open Aug. 13 – Sept. 28, Thursday – Monday
  • Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open July 12 – Sept. 7. Sunday/Monday only.
  • Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island):Open July 12 – Sept. 7. Sunday/Monday only.
  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point: Open July 2 – Sept. 7, Thursday-Monday

The following areas are closed this season:

  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) south of a line projected true east from Ayock Point:  This area is closed to promote recovery of the Dungeness crab population in south Hood Canal.
  • Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound): This area continues to be closed to promote recovery of Dungeness crab populations.

“WDFW continues to monitor crab abundance throughout Puget Sound and manages crab fisheries to maintain healthy populations,” said Katelyn Bosley, lead crustacean biologist for WDFW.

“Dungeness crab populations have shown a moderate increase in parts of central Puget Sound as compared to the past few years,” said Bosley. “We are even able to offer a limited recreational fishery in Marine Area 11 that will provide some opportunity for crabbers that have not been able to fish this area the last two years,” she added.

Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay – East of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet), and the portion of 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point will open for sport crabbing on Thursday, July 2.

Recreational crabbing in Marine Areas 4, 5, 6, 7, 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point will be open Thursdays – Mondays each week. Crabbing in these marine areas is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the summer seasons.

The subareas of Marine area 7 will open later in the summer to protect molting crab. Due to modest crab abundance and high expected crab fishing, marine areas 10 and 11 will have a limited season starting July 12. Marine areas 10 and 11 will be open only on Sunday and Monday each week. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.

“In Marine area 10, we had the challenging task of creating as much opportunity as possible, while staying within conservation and state-tribal sharing objectives and also considering increases in crab fishing in recent years and anticipated crab fishing effort,” said Bosley.

Marine Area 13 will remain closed in 2020 due to low abundance of crab. Visit WDFW’s YouTube page for a short video about how we are working to manage crabs to meet conservation aims in that area.

Summer seasons for the upcoming fishery are posted on WDFW’s crab-fishing website.

The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6ΕΎ inches. Fishers may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day in open areas, provided the crab are in hard-shell condition and measure at least 5 inches carapace width.

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

Puget Sound crabbers are required to record their harvest of Dungeness crab on their catch record cards immediately after retaining the crab and before re-deploying the trap. Separate catch record cards are issued for the summer and winter seasons.

Catch record card information is crucial to managing the Dungeness crab resource in Puget Sound; completed summer catch record cards are due to the Department by October 1, 2020.

Catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast, where crabbing is open year-round.