OLYMPIA – Puget Sound marine areas currently open for recreational winter crabbing will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, after which all sport crabbers licensed to fish for Dungeness crab in the Sound will have through Feb. 1 to report their winter results.
Crabbers who plan to report their catch online should be aware of some changes to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) online system, said Rich Childers, shellfish policy lead for the department.
“Crabbers should be prepared to take a few extra minutes to navigate our new online system,” Childers said. “Crab reporting is not only required but is essential to managing our crab fisheries.”
To report online, crabbers will need to establish an online account by creating a user name and password and providing an email address. Individuals can use these accounts for a variety of purposes, including crab reporting and purchasing hunting and fishing licenses.
The online reporting system will be available Jan. 1 through Feb. 1 at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. Crabbers also may send their catch record cards to WDFW by mail at WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
State fishing rules require that all sport crabbers with winter catch record cards submit catch reports for the winter season to WDFW by Feb. 1 – even if they did not catch any crab. Sport crabbers should be aware that if they fail to submit a winter catch report, they will receive a $10 fine when they purchase their 2017 crab endorsement.
After Dec. 31, all Puget Sound marine areas will be closed to recreational crabbing until summer 2017.