By Steve Guntli
Get your crab pots ready: Crabbing season officially opens at 6 a.m. on Thursday, August 13.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Marine Area 7 north will open for crabbing next week. Marine Area 7 north includes waters north of Lummi Island and the Strait of Georgia, including Blaine, Birch Bay and Point Roberts.
The sub-area is typically the last one to open. According to the WDFW, this is because the colder waters in the northern regions of the state cause crabs to develop more slowly. Crabs must meet a certain size requirement before they can be caught.
On August 4, the WDFW announced that several marine areas to the south of the state are closed due to increased levels of red tide biotoxin. Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the area now closed to crab fishing includes more than half the state’s 157-mile-long coast, and likely will bring a premature end to this year’s coastal crab season.
The season will be open for both Dungeness and red rock crabs. The catch limit for Dungeness crabs is five adult males and must be a minimum of 6.25 inches across the carapace. Crabbers must not remove its back shell while in the field. All soft shell, female and underage crabs must be released, and a catch record card is required to document all crabs. Catch record cards can be obtained through any approved license vendor.
Red rock crabs must be 5 inches or more across. The catch limit is up to six for either males or females, but soft shell crabs must be released.
Crabbing will be allowed Thursday through Monday. No fisher may set, fish, or pull shellfish gear from a vessel, one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.
No crabbing is allowed on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. The season will close on September 28.
For more information,visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing.
The original story showed crabbing season ending on September 18.