An invasive European green crab has been found for the first time in Hood Canal, the farthest southerly intrusion into the Salish Sea for this damaging species, which poses a threat to native shellfish, eelgrass and estuary habitat critical for salmon and many other species.
Volunteers with Washington Sea Grant captured a male European green crab in Nick’s Lagoon near Seabeck in Kitsap County on Tuesday.
Washington Sea Grant’s “Crab Team” is tasked by the WDFW with early detection monitoring for European green crabs. The Crab Team’s 55-site network in the Salish Sea is monitored by local volunteers and partner staff with federal and state agencies and tribes.
“Based on its size, this small crab arrived at this site just last year, which really demonstrates the value of the early detection network in action,” Washington Sea Grant marine ecologist Emily Grason said.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will be conducting rapid response trapping to understand the scope of green crab presence and attempt to locally eradicate green crabs before they can take hold in the Seabeck area. Building on Crab Team early detection protocols, which deploy a small number of traps and monitor sites repeatedly, rapid response efforts will scale up trapping in the area over the course of several days, including the identification of additional nearby sites for expanded trapping.
Area residents, anglers and others are asked not to tamper with European green crab traps, which are often deployed in shallow areas exposed at low tide and are typically identified with a bright orange buoy and an official tag or permit.
Spot shrimp Wednesday
Avoiding those buoys will be important Wednesday when the short-lived spot shrimp season opens.
Here are the season dates for spot shrimp, the largest of the state’s shrimp species.
• Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open May 25-28, June 9-11, June 23-25, July 7-9 and July 21-23. Daylight hours.
• Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. only.
• Marine Area 9 (Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open on May 25 from 8 a.m. to noon only.
• Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open on Wednesday, May 28, June 9 and June 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. only.
Halibut catches low
Poor weather on open fishing days has hampered halibut catches in recent weeks.
The North Coast (La Push and Neah Bay) opened May 5 and only 14 halibut weighing a total of 209 pounds were estimated to have been taken by 178 anglers during the first open days of the fishery.
The quota remaining through May 13 (when estimates are released by Fish and Wildlife) is 133,638 pounds.
In Puget Sound and along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including Sekiu, 103 halibut were landed by 884 anglers for a weekly catch of 1,449 pounds with 72,161 quota pounds left over.
Four open positions exist on Fish and Wildlife’s 18-member Wolf Advisory Group, which represents the interests of environmentalists, hunters, livestock producers and other stakeholders on wolf conservation and management.
For more information about the Wolf Advisory Group and how to apply, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag.