OLYMPIA – Recreational shrimp fishing will open Saturday in Puget Sound under seasons announced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This year's Puget Sound shrimp fishing season will begin about a week later than in 2018. Shellfish managers scheduled the later opening date based on tidal conditions. The season opening date will allow shrimpers to take advantage of tides that should maximize success in areas with the shortest seasons, said Don Velasquez, a shellfish biologist for WDFW.
"This is a popular fishery, and the volume of boats using the ramps will require some patience and courtesy," he said. "Fishers should allow extra time for launching their boats to ensure they’re in the water when fishing opens."
Though the season opens Saturday for all shrimp (spot, pink and coonstripe shrimp), people are mostly fishing for spot shrimp, Velasquez said. Also known as prawns, spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in Puget Sound and may grow up to nine inches in length.
Puget Sound recreational shrimp season opening days are:
- Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line) and 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca):Open daily beginning Saturday. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained.
- Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open Thursday through Sunday each week beginning Saturday. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained.
- Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 11, 15, 29, and June 1.
- Marine area 7 South (Iceberg Point, Point Colville, Biz Point, Salmon Bank): Open May 11-12, May 16-19, and May 23-24.
- Marine area 7 East (northern Rosario Strait, Bellingham Bay, Sucia and Matia islands, Strait of Georgia): Open May 11-12, May 16-19, May 23-26, and May 30-June 2.
- Marine Area 7 West (San Juan Channel, Speiden Channel, Stuart and Waldron islands): Open Thursday through Sunday each week beginning Saturday. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained.
- Marine Areas 8-1 (Saratoga Passage, Deception Pass) and 8-2 (Port Susan, Port Gardner, Everett):Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 11, and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 15.
- Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 11, and from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 15.
- Marine Area 10 (Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 east of a line from West Point to Alki Point).
- Marine Area 10 (outside Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 west of a line from West Point to Alki Point, which includes the Bainbridge Island shrimp fishing grounds).
- Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
- Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 11, 15, 29, and June 1.
- Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound, Carr Inlet): Closed for spot shrimp harvest this season due to low abundance.
Additional dates and times will be announced if sufficient quota remains after the initial fishing days scheduled above.
In all areas of Puget Sound, fishers are limited to 80 shrimp a day (if open) during the month of May. A valid 2019-20 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in the fishery.
Velasquez reminds shrimpers that traps can be set one hour before official sunrise during any open period in marine areas 4, 5, 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), 7 East, 7 South, and 7 West only. As an example, one hour before sunrise is approximately 4:40 a.m. on Saturday.
The pots must be removed from the water in these same areas by one hour after sunset at the end of an open period. The start and end times for the other areas are listed above.