CRABBERS HAVE THE answers they seek: the dates of the upcoming summer crab season, which will open July 4 around the North Olympic Peninsula.
Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay — East of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 9 (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 Independence Day.
Each of these marine areas will be open through Sept. 2 with recreational crabbing open Thursdays through Mondays each week. Crabbing is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the summer. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.
Marine Area 12 south of Ayock Point will remain closed “to promote recovery of the Dungeness crab population in south Hood Canal.”
The Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to monitor crab abundance throughout Puget Sound and manages crab fisheries to maintain healthy populations, said Bob Sizemore, shellfish policy lead for the department.
“Dungeness crab populations in the southern reaches of Puget Sound and southern Hood Canal have experienced stress in recent years,” said Sizemore.
It’s possible this could be related to blooms of coccolithophores, a phytoplankton that surrounds itself with a microscopic plating made of limestone. Major blooms were observed in Hood Canal in 2006 and 2007 and 2007-2009 were considered extremely low crab catch seasons throughout Hood Canal.
Blooms have occurred the last three summers, typically around this time of year on Hood Canal.
“The crab fishery definitely plummets following these periods,” said Blair Paul, shellfish biologist with the Skokomish Indian Tribe.
Paul, who is researching the impacts of the blooms on Hood Canal shellfish, is trying to figure out if crab larvae are being affected or if it’s some other stage in the crab life cycle.
The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 ¼ inches. Fishers may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day in open areas, provided those crab are in hard-shell condition and measure at least 5 inches across.
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 cards are not required for crabbers on the Pacific Ocean or on the Columbia River where crabbing is open year-round.
Father’s Day shoot
The Wapiti Bowmen Archery Club will host a Father’s Day 3D target shoot at their club and archery range at 374 E. Arnette Road, Port Angeles, on Saturday and Sunday.
The event is open to the public.
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. each day.
Fees for youth ages 12 to 17 are $8 for one day, $10 for two days and $4 or $5 for ages 6-11. Ages 5 and younger are free.
Adults are $12 for one day, $20 for both.
Lunch will be available for $5.
Camping also is available.
For more information, phone 360-582-7987.
Squidding off Port Angeles
Squidding off Port Angeles is the topic at Thursday’s meeting of the North Olympic Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
The meeting will be held at Sequim’s Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave..
The evening begins with a social half hour at 6:30 p.m. to swap fish stories and view raffle items.
Nick Roberts, an outdoorsman who works in sporting goods at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, will let attendees know all there is to know about catching squid.
Roberts will describe when to squid, how to do it, different styles of rigs and how to clean and prepare the catch.
Roberts was part of the trio that hauled in the 159-pound halibut off Port Angeles last month.
His talk begins at 7 p.m., followed by a club business meeting which includes a financial report, government relations report, upcoming events discussions and fishing reports from members.
Refreshments, a member’s raffle and a membership drawing for those in attendance are also on tap.
The public is welcome to attend.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]