OLYMPIA — Puget Sound will open for recreational spot shrimp fishing beginning May 19, shellfish managers with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced late last week.
Shrimping participation was notably higher last year during the COVID-19 pandemic than in past seasons, said Don Velasquez, a WDFW shellfish biologist.
“The dates selected for the 2021 season reflect anticipated high levels of participation similar to 2020,” Velasquez said. “With our test surveys indicating healthy populations across most marine areas, we’re pleased to offer a good mix of opportunity throughout Puget Sound this year.”
Shrimpers should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for wearing masks and social distancing in shared public spaces and staying home if they feel sick. They should also check for potential COVID-related closures and restrictions at access sites before heading out.
Of note, the Skokomish Park at Potlatch — also known as Saltwater Park — Hood Canal boat launch and associated facilities, located just north of Potlatch State Park, is closed until further notice. A date for reopening has not been announced.
In all areas of Puget Sound, fishers are limited to 80 shrimp per day on open days in May. Shrimpers may keep dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp caught incidentally while fishing for spot shrimp, but they count toward the 80-shrimp limit. Beginning on June 1, the daily limit will be 10 pounds of all shrimp with a maximum of 80 spot shrimp. Seasons for non-spot shrimping (dock, coonstripe and pink shrimp only) will begin later this year and will be announced separately.
A valid 2021-22 combination license, shellfish license or Fish Washington license is required to participate in all shrimp fisheries. More information on recreational shrimp seasons, and a description of the marine areas, is available on WDFW’s recreational shrimp fishing website.
Puget Sound recreational spot shrimp seasons are as follows:
Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open May 19-22, June 2-5, and June 16-19. Daylight hours.
Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 19 and May 22.
Marine Area 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca, from Low Point to the mouth of the Sekiu River): Open daily from May 19 through Sept. 15, daylight hours.
Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19.
Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19, May 22, June 2, June 5, and June 16. Shrimpers should note that the Skokomish Park at Potlatch (“Saltwater Park”) Hood Canal boat launch is currently closed until further notice.
Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line: Remains closed until further notice.
Additional dates and times may be announced if enough quota remains after the initial fishing days are complete.
WDFW reminds shrimpers that traps can be set one hour before official sunrise during any open period in the marine areas without specified harvest hours. This includes Marine Areas 5, 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), 7 East, 7 South, and 7 West (San Juan Islands). Traps must be removed from the water in these same areas by one hour after sunset at the end of an open period.
Shrimp anglers are reminded to follow Be Whale Wise practices to help protect endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Recreational vessels must stay at least 300 yards from Southern Resident orcas and at least 400 yards out of their path or behind the whales.