When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced?

Posted by: RUNnGUN

When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 07:40 AM

Seems I ask this every year, but some funky dates this year with July 1st on a Monday, and the typical San Juan opening date, the 16th, on a Tuesday.
Posted by: bushbear

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 09:04 AM

A good question. Larry B hasn't heard anything yet, but I'm sure he'll comment later.

State still hasn't submitted the 2018 harvest report. Shellfish staff is short-handed with some retirements from last year and more coming this year.

Commission policy (C-3609) says the summer season will be July - Labor Day for 5 days per week (Thursday/Monday). Last year they opened on June 30 inside and June 16 in MA 4 and 5. That conflicts with the policy, but .....

Not sure what they'll do this year. IF they follow the same scenario as last year, it MIGHT be June 29 for three days and then go to the 5 days per week starting July 4. MA 7 S opened July 14. MA 7 N opened Aug. 16 Last year, they didn't announce the opener until June 8.

Guess we just have to wait and see
Posted by: Steelheadman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 09:38 AM

I wouldn't mind if they closed it for summer. Last two years have sucked.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 03:09 PM

Bushbear has pretty well summarized the current status which is that there is no update on the new webpage:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab.

This process is not as simple as one might think as there have to be stock assessments intended to result in an agreement with the tribes in each U&A as to total allowable harvest. This year there is also the question as to whether there will be seasons in several of the MAs (13, 11 and part of 12) tied to those stock assessments.

That is bad enough but the crab bios were given new hats this year as they had to take over for Mark O'Toole (shrimp guru) who had the audacity of retiring and was not replaced in time to oversee shrimp season. Not sure if the Department has yet filled that position.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 03:43 PM

I donít believe they announced the seasons last year until June 8th.
SF
Posted by: Smalma

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 04:21 PM

Larry B-
Any discussions with the WDFW about the role of increasing acidification of Puget Sound waters in those stock assessment concerns

Curt
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/19/19 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Smalma
Larry B-
Any discussions with the WDFW about the role of increasing acidification of Puget Sound waters in those stock assessment concerns

Curt


Lots of speculation running from "normal" population cycles to acidification to abnormally high water temps or, worse yet, some combination of those factors.

Bottom line is that there have been a series of weak or failed Dungeness spawn events with little to no age class recruitment. It is not apparent that red rock have had the same problem which further confuses the situation.

I believe I am correct in saying that the closures are an effort to maintain some breeding potential particularly in those more marginal areas.
Posted by: Smalma

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 05:48 AM

Larry -
Thanks I suspect that folks are correct and we are looking at the result of the combination factors affecting crab survival. From the literature both higher acidic levels and temperatures have been shown to affect the survival/recruitment of Dungeness crabs.

Ph of 7.5/7.4 appears to be the threshold at which crab larva and molt survival is reduced. While the long term monitoring is hard to find those kinds of ph have been seen in deep south MA 12 and MA 13 for several years. Of additional concern is there may be an increase in those kinds of readings elsewhere in the Sound. All predicted changes associated with climate change.

Normal ocean ph is around 8.1 so I may not think a change to one of 7.4 is much of change but I would remind folks that the ph scale is logarithmic. That kind of change we are talking about is actually a 4 fold increase in acid levels.

Curt
Posted by: wsu

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 08:34 AM

Larry - there are very few dungies the last handful of years here in area 13. There are tons of red rocks though. Anywhere you go itís easy to catch dozens of giant keepers. I donít like them as much as dungies (not even close) but they taste good and my kids donít care. I lobbied some of the shellfish bios unsuccessfully to open it up for red rock. If nothing else itís a fun thing to do with my kids that is close and easy.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 10:12 AM

Originally Posted By: wsu
Larry - there are very few dungies the last handful of years here in area 13. There are tons of red rocks though. Anywhere you go itís easy to catch dozens of giant keepers. I donít like them as much as dungies (not even close) but they taste good and my kids donít care. I lobbied some of the shellfish bios unsuccessfully to open it up for red rock. If nothing else itís a fun thing to do with my kids that is close and easy.


An opener for red rock has been discussed but so far shellfish Staff have not been receptive; tough to overcome the inertia. If there are 2019 closures for Dungeness in 11 and 12 (south) and particularly if no indication of a Dungy stock improvement you can bet there will be far more pressure for just red rock in areas closed for Dungies.
Posted by: Bay wolf

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 10:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Larry B

An opener for red rock has been discussed but so far shellfish Staff have not been receptive; tough to overcome the inertia. If there are 2019 closures for Dungeness in 11 and 12 (south) and particularly if no indication of a Dungy stock improvement you can bet there will be far more pressure for just red rock in areas closed for Dungies.


I realize that Red Rocks are not as desirable, but if a recreational fishery IS opened for them, does that mean there will also be a Tribal/Commercial fishery, to keep it fair?
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 10:57 AM

Just an FYI.
I've fished a number of places in the sound and canal recently.
I've seen a lot of crabs mated up in the shallows and eel grass. The last time I saw this many was in 2016.
Not saying it is going to be a great crabbing season, but compared to 2017 and 2018 I've seen a lot more.
Most of these though will be gone by June when the carpet bombing begins while we wait for our seasons to open.

I haven't seen a legal sized crab in the south end of MA 12 in a good five plus years.
SF
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 11:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Bay wolf
Originally Posted By: Larry B

An opener for red rock has been discussed but so far shellfish Staff have not been receptive; tough to overcome the inertia. If there are 2019 closures for Dungeness in 11 and 12 (south) and particularly if no indication of a Dungy stock improvement you can bet there will be far more pressure for just red rock in areas closed for Dungies.


I realize that Red Rocks are not as desirable, but if a recreational fishery IS opened for them, does that mean there will also be a Tribal/Commercial fishery, to keep it fair?


They have traditionally been "open" as part of the general crab season and the tribes have had access to them under their treaties. The NT commercials would presumably have the same restrictions/opportunities (if any) as during seasons where it was open for Dungies. Bottom line there probably isn't enough money for the commercial guys to want to target them.

Concerns include illegal retention of Dungies as well as pot/handling mortality on them.
Posted by: MPM

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 05:54 PM

Larry B, who should sporties talk to/petition/pester *beforehand* if we'd really like to see a red rock season even if dungies are closed (for example, in MA 11)?
Posted by: bushbear

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 09:07 PM

You could start with a request to the Commission asking for consideration.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/20/19 09:08 PM

Originally Posted By: MPM
Larry B, who should sporties talk to/petition/pester *beforehand* if we'd really like to see a red rock season even if dungies are closed (for example, in MA 11)?


First off, the P.S. Recreational crab and shrimp advisory group has been promised that they will have their activities documented on its own webpage (https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory). Not being represented there is NOT a function of the new web site; that advisory group has never been available on the WDFW webpage.

The Department's liaison for that group is Bob Sizemore who is also the Shellfish Manager. The internal administrative framework of WDFW is lost on me until you get to the Director and his Deputy. So there it is, top and bottom. Then there is the Commission.

Edit:

Here is the organizational chain, bottom to top:

Sizemore: Robert.Sizemore@dfw.wa.gov

Warren: Ron.Warren@dfw.wa.gov

Susewind: Kelly.Susewind@dfw.wa.gov

Commission: commission@dfw.wa.gov

You might want to send your input to Mr. Sizemore and "CC" the others.

Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 06:47 AM

Received this info. from within the WDFW:

"Final negotiations with the Tribes on management are finishing soon and the summer crab season will be announced shortly. Here are the anticipated, and yet not final start dates."

MA4-Thurs. July 4th.
MA5,6,8.1,8.2,9, & 10- Thurs. July 4th.
MA7 South- No specific date but sometime around the 3rd week of July.
MA7 North- " " " " " " Thurs. Aug. 15th.

Once the season starts it will be open Thur.- Mondays of each week.
Posted by: Carcassman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 06:58 AM

Not a crab biologist, so I don't know the life history details, but if pH and ecological/Sound conditions are so bad for Dungeness why are the Red Rocks flourishing?

I know that, for example, the FW storm runoff affects coho disproportionately to the other salmonids but this sure looks more like over harvest.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 07:56 AM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Received this info. from within the WDFW:

"Final negotiations with the Tribes on management are finishing soon and the summer crab season will be announced shortly. Here are the anticipated, and yet not final start dates."

MA4-Thurs. July 4th.
MA5,6,8.1,8.2,9, & 10- Thurs. July 4th.
MA7 South- No specific date but sometime around the 3rd week of July.
MA7 North- " " " " " " Thurs. Aug. 15th.

Once the season starts it will be open Thur.- Mondays of each week.


Recognizing that this is unofficial there is no mention of MA 11 and MA 13 openings for either Dungeness or red rock as anticipated nor is MA 12 (Hood Canal) mentioned at all.

Does that mean MA 12 will be closed in its entirety for 2019?
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 08:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Carcassman
Not a crab biologist, so I don't know the life history details, but if pH and ecological/Sound conditions are so bad for Dungeness why are the Red Rocks flourishing?

I know that, for example, the FW storm runoff affects coho disproportionately to the other salmonids but this sure looks more like over harvest.


That kind of seditious talk will get you banned from the 3-S club (size/sex/season).

Your question about why (what is happening to Dungeness versus red rock) has been asked but there is no clear cut answer available. Speculation was just as you suggested.....that those two species are sufficiently different in tolerances and/or life cycle timing to react differently to changing conditions (at least in the short term).

My personal observations and speculations are based in large part on my own crabbing where year after year I have rowed out and placed pots in the same location in MA 8-2. Not only has there been a significantly decrease in harvestable crab but also a decrease in females. That indicates to me more going on than just over harvest of 6 1/4 and above males.

That said, the 3-S model may work adequately when all other factors are stable. However, if something out there has changed to include just the "normal" cyclical nature of Dungeness crab biomass the 3-S model may exacerbate the swings making the lows deeper and longer.

If the population is on a downward swing and we continue to believe we can harvest all male crab 6 1/4 and above at what point do we have the numbers of breeding males be insufficient keeping in mind that the recruitment into that sexually mature group is also dropping?

A final point - last week I saw whole Dungeness crab in the local market at over $10.00/#. Whether it is selling here at that price point is another matter but we also know much of the West Coast harvest is shipped out of the region and out of the country.

Final caveat: I am also not a crab biologist and my opinions are mine alone.
Posted by: Smalma

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 08:55 AM

I too am not a crab biologist but something that WSU said jumped out to me. In an earlier post he said "...easy to catch dozens of giant keepers Ö". 3 to 5 years ago I was consistently hearing about the great crab in MA 13 with exceptional size male crabs; makes you wonder that with lower exploitation rates on the red rock crabs whether we just have not seen the effected of lower recruitment.

Larry - your comments on the crabbing in MA 8-2 (my home waters as well) is concerning. In my search for water quality information I ran across some limited information that included the deep water of MA 8-2 with that of south Sound and South Hood Canal with low ph (7.5 or below) from a couple years ago. Have to stress that it is limited information but my concern levels are rising.

Wonder if any at WDFW has access to better water quality monitoring?

Curt
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 10:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Smalma
I too am not a crab biologist but something that WSU said jumped out to me. In an earlier post he said "...easy to catch dozens of giant keepers Ö". 3 to 5 years ago I was consistently hearing about the great crab in MA 13 with exceptional size male crabs; makes you wonder that with lower exploitation rates on the red rock crabs whether we just have not seen the effected of lower recruitment.

Larry - your comments on the crabbing in MA 8-2 (my home waters as well) is concerning. In my search for water quality information I ran across some limited information that included the deep water of MA 8-2 with that of south Sound and South Hood Canal with low ph (7.5 or below) from a couple years ago. Have to stress that it is limited information but my concern levels are rising.

Wonder if any at WDFW has access to better water quality monitoring?

Curt


Your question/speculation regarding what may be going on with red rock is well worth exploring. My perception is that info on red rock populations is extremely limited which is a part of WDFW's concern about having what would essentially be a season where red rock is the primary targeted species.

One must also keep in mind that the State was for several years unable to reach a Dungeness harvest agreement with the Nisqually tribe and that there was the perception that they were overharvesting and were doing so prior to the opening of the rec season. That led to one year when WDFW opened the season in MA 13 early to give recs some chance. Actual rec harvest was very low that year and remained so until last year's closure (but with tribes still able to take for personal and ceremonial use).

Anecdotally, local sport shops were selling cheap crab pots by the pallet load for use in the tribal fishery.
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 12:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Larry B
Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Received this info. from within the WDFW:

"Final negotiations with the Tribes on management are finishing soon and the summer crab season will be announced shortly. Here are the anticipated, and yet not final start dates."

MA4-Thurs. July 4th.
MA5,6,8.1,8.2,9, & 10- Thurs. July 4th.
MA7 South- No specific date but sometime around the 3rd week of July.
MA7 North- " " " " " " Thurs. Aug. 15th.

Once the season starts it will be open Thur.- Mondays of each week.


Recognizing that this is unofficial there is no mention of MA 11 and MA 13 openings for either Dungeness or red rock as anticipated nor is MA 12 (Hood Canal) mentioned at all.

Does that mean MA 12 will be closed in its entirety for 2019?

Apologize for omitting MA11, 12, and 13 will likely be closed for 2019.
Posted by: Carcassman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 02:17 PM

Here's another question, that sort of comes from comments that Sam Wright said about salmon. Essentially, what we have left is the most productive parts of the population. The lower production parts have been eliminated by habitat issues, harvest, etc.

Perhaps the same occurs with other resources. When crab, to pick an example at random, live in a generally quality environment with good water movement/exchange and so on they can sustain a (say) 75% exploitation of males >6". On a marginal environment (like 13 and 12) where water exchange is much more limited, etc., those same 6" males can sustain 50%. We seem to like one size fits all management paradigms.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 02:33 PM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Originally Posted By: Larry B
Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Received this info. from within the WDFW:

"Final negotiations with the Tribes on management are finishing soon and the summer crab season will be announced shortly. Here are the anticipated, and yet not final start dates."

MA4-Thurs. July 4th.
MA5,6,8.1,8.2,9, & 10- Thurs. July 4th.
MA7 South- No specific date but sometime around the 3rd week of July.
MA7 North- " " " " " " Thurs. Aug. 15th.

Once the season starts it will be open Thur.- Mondays of each week.


Recognizing that this is unofficial there is no mention of MA 11 and MA 13 openings for either Dungeness or red rock as anticipated nor is MA 12 (Hood Canal) mentioned at all.

Does that mean MA 12 will be closed in its entirety for 2019?

Apologize for omitting MA11, 12, and 13 will likely be closed for 2019.


Having 13 closed was a foregone conclusion and it was likely that 11 would also be closed. However, the talk at the last Advisory Group meeting was that a closure in 12 would be the southern portion of the Canal so a total closure of that MA would be somewhat of a surprise.
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 05:18 PM

It did mention MA 12 South of Ayock Pt. Not to familiar with the Canal. After looking at a map I didn't realize that leaves a substantial area North to the bridge available. My phone sucks to see the details. Thanks.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 05:52 PM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
My phone sucks to see the details. Thanks.


I don't have that problem with my flip phone. whistle
Posted by: BillSteve

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 07:17 PM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
It did mention MA 12 South of Ayock Pt. Not to familiar with the Canal. After looking at a map I didn't realize that leaves a substantial area North to the bridge available. My phone sucks to see the details. Thanks.


So just to clarify, you expect MA12, North of Ayock Pt. to be open?
Posted by: Jason Beezuz

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/21/19 07:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Carcassman
Here's another question, that sort of comes from comments that Sam Wright said about salmon. Essentially, what we have left is the most productive parts of the population. The lower production parts have been eliminated by habitat issues, harvest, etc.

Perhaps the same occurs with other resources. When crab, to pick an example at random, live in a generally quality environment with good water movement/exchange and so on they can sustain a (say) 75% exploitation of males >6". On a marginal environment (like 13 and 12) where water exchange is much more limited, etc., those same 6" males can sustain 50%. We seem to like one size fits all management paradigms.


Great post. I never thought of it this way.
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/22/19 06:38 AM

Originally Posted By: BillSteve
Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
It did mention MA 12 South of Ayock Pt. Not to familiar with the Canal. After looking at a map I didn't realize that leaves a substantial area North to the bridge available. My phone sucks to see the details. Thanks.


So just to clarify, you expect MA12, North of Ayock Pt. to be open?


Ayock Pt. South closure was a location mentioned. To say North will be open for sure would be speculation since final decisions have not been made. I guess we have to wait and see?
Posted by: BillSteve

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/22/19 08:39 AM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Originally Posted By: BillSteve
Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
It did mention MA 12 South of Ayock Pt. Not to familiar with the Canal. After looking at a map I didn't realize that leaves a substantial area North to the bridge available. My phone sucks to see the details. Thanks.


So just to clarify, you expect MA12, North of Ayock Pt. to be open?


Ayock Pt. South closure was a location mentioned. To say North will be open for sure would be speculation since final decisions have not been made. I guess we have to wait and see?


Guess so!
Posted by: Jake Dogfish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/23/19 02:32 PM

Growing up on a beach deep in area 13, there has always been huge numbers of rock crabs down there. Since I have found larger rock crabs in other areas, I have wondered if they were stunted by there numbers all at the same size. We would wade out with flashlights and waders in the winter 30 years ago and it was easy pickings. I never caught the first Dungeness I have seen there until years later.
They do fish for Rock crab commercially. Check out this video:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T5BdemwSq0g
At 14:00 He removes the claws that are sold at Casinos and sends it back.
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/23/19 05:30 PM

Too funny! Thanks for sharing!
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/23/19 08:09 PM

The latest post above brought up another question. When will the tribes get to put in vs recs? When will that be announced? Are they already in?
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/23/19 08:50 PM

Another question I have after viewing the video, Can I legally break off one claw of a big red rock crab, which are very good eating, and throw the crab back? If not why?? Can the tribal members? Why?? I have seen lots of rock crab with a claws missing. BS in my mind.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/23/19 09:03 PM

Tribes usually start crabbing in June from what Iíve seen.
SF
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/23/19 09:49 PM

Originally Posted By: stonefish
Tribes usually start crabbing in June from what Iíve seen.
SF


I've seen pots in MA 11 as early as Mother's Day.
Posted by: Jake Dogfish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced - 05/24/19 12:53 AM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Another question I have after viewing the video, Can I legally break off one claw of a big red rock crab, which are very good eating, and throw the crab back? If not why?? Can the tribal members? Why?? I have seen lots of rock crab with a claws missing. BS in my mind.


I donít think itís legal for most of us. When the legality is questioned in the comments to the video, the crabber says ďIím tribal, we have our own rulesĒ.
As to the question wether it should be legal to take one claw, (like they do in some east coast fisheries) the only place Iíve seen much discussion is on the Oregon board. What I remember is it takes a rock crab 3 molts to make a new claw, and they might only molt once a year, so even if they live long enough it takes awhile.
I think there may be a bit of a safety issue as well. If I catch a rock crab Iíd rather throw him in a pot of boiling water rather than trying to rip one of his claws off.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/24/19 09:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Larry B
Originally Posted By: stonefish
Tribes usually start crabbing in June from what Iíve seen.
SF


I've seen pots in MA 11 as early as Mother's Day.


Always somebody jumping the gun.
With the lack of crabs in MA 11, he must have felt the need to beat his brothers to the punch.

Larry,
All kidding aside, I thought I had read before on of the reasons the recs start later (July) is the state and tribes don't agree in regards to when the crabs will be soft or hard shelled.
The tribe believes they are hard shelled earlier while the state doesn't.
You seem to have the crab management pretty dialed in. Any truth to that?
SF
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/24/19 12:16 PM

Originally Posted By: stonefish
Originally Posted By: Larry B
Originally Posted By: stonefish
Tribes usually start crabbing in June from what Iíve seen.
SF


I've seen pots in MA 11 as early as Mother's Day.


Always somebody jumping the gun.
With the lack of crabs in MA 11, he must have felt the need to beat his brothers to the punch.

Larry,
All kidding aside, I thought I had read before on of the reasons the recs start later (July) is the state and tribes don't agree in regards to when the crabs will be soft or hard shelled.
The tribe believes they are hard shelled earlier while the state doesn't.
You seem to have the crab management pretty dialed in. Any truth to that?
SF


Okay, let me try. First, WDFW considers retaining a soft crab as wastage hence the regulation against keeping "soft" crab. It is also the basis for opening of commercial seasons on the coast with testing accomplished to determine that a certain percentage of crab are hard - and correspondingly in the area of 25% meat. That leads to the setting of recreational seasons of which there are several opening dates depending upon location and crab molting dates for those areas. So, the answer is yes....but that is not all.

When the new policy was being developed there was a need to balance seasons and daily limits to stay within the State's share for each management area. Seasons were a combination of start/end dates as well as number of days per week. We ended up with a policy with a summer season July through Labor Day (except MA 7) and five days a week ( Thursday through Monday). Any residual poundage in a MA goes to a possible winter season in that MA.

There is also the issue of orderly fisheries and it is my personal opinion that the July opener provides an opportunity for the tribal fisheries to occur without conflict with rec fisheries - whether intended or not.

On the other side tribal seasons can occur any time but seem to precede recreational openings so as to be able to crab on the highest abundance. I do not know to what extent the individual tribes regulate the take of "soft" crab or whether that is constrained by what the buyers will accept.

You probably knew a lot of that information but I hope it is of some value to others.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/24/19 12:44 PM

Larry,
Thanks for the explanation.
SF
Posted by: ned

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/24/19 03:19 PM

Originally Posted By: stonefish
Tribes usually start crabbing in June from what Iíve seen.
SF


Crab region 4 is basically the same as Marine area 10. Tribes are fishing May 22, 23, 24, with a 65 pot per boat limit, no catch limit, 24 hours per day.

In this area, the tribes have caught more than the state share by 5 tons per year. That's each year from 2000 to 2016
( 17 years x 5 tons).

So explain to me why they start in May? part of the 5-ton disparity is that when I go out, all my crab will be 6in or less and I'll have to throw them back for most of July and into August, until they molt again in grow that extra quarter inch.

someone once told me, it's like being at a buffet, but you are the last guy in the line.
Posted by: Krijack

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/24/19 11:00 PM

I think its the basic philosphy of letting the older kids look for easter eggs last. You hide the eggs and let the little kids go first. They quickly pick up their share. Then you send out the older kids. They spend the rest of day trying to find whats left. While both ages may have the same amount, its a whole lot harder for the second group to get theirs, especially if the little kids decide to take a little more than their share. Its all about extending opportunitiy.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/25/19 10:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Krijack
I think its the basic philosphy of letting the older kids look for easter eggs last. You hide the eggs and let the little kids go first. They quickly pick up their share. Then you send out the older kids. They spend the rest of day trying to find whats left. While both ages may have the same amount, its a whole lot harder for the second group to get theirs, especially if the little kids decide to take a little more than their share. Its all about extending opportunitiy.


I like the egg hunt comparison so let's add some additional information. In reality each of those eggs has a $20 bill inside. Knowing that the representatives of the little kids who will be hunting first go into the egg hunt committee's planning session and convince the group that there will be 1,000 eggs placed by volunteers when in fact they know only 800 will be placed. Based upon the 1,000 number the little kids are allocated 500 and the hunt proceeds with the little kids quickly loading up their booty of at least 500 eggs.

On paper that leaves 500 for the big kids, right? True enough on paper but in fact there are only 300 left for the big kids and very quickly the majority of those eggs are collected and while there may be another 3 hours set aside for the big kids to hunt the fact is that most of them give up early - not because there is no opportunity but because there is no meaningful opportunity.


In short, there needs to be a realistic overall harvest number agreed to among the co-managers which also needs to take into consideration any migration north of the South Puget Sound population crash.

Posted by: Carcassman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/25/19 10:27 AM

The crab situation seems ripe for a lawsuit similar, but in the opposite direction, of Hoh V. Baldridge. Prior to that decision, the NI's fished ahead of the Tribes in the ocean, fished on the forecast, and (deliberately) overfished by a small amount some smaller coho stocks commingled with much more abundant ones. Then, the tribes (in many cases the Hoh) would be totally closed or closed early for conservation because the harvest had been taken. Court held that this was not legal.

Boldt even had provisions that prevented the Tribes from corking the NI steelheaders who fished upstream of them. I think the Tribal argument was that the anglers couldn't catch their share so it was foregone opportunity. But, the anglers never even had the opportunity for them so Boldt allowed for allocation closures when the share was taken.

For this to work, we need good forecast numbers, Yeah, sure. But we also need catch reporting and harvest controls. If one side is consistently ahead of the other, they need to be cut back. This requires hands-on management, and huevos.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/25/19 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Carcassman
The crab situation seems ripe for a lawsuit similar, but in the opposite direction, of Hoh V. Baldridge. Prior to that decision, the NI's fished ahead of the Tribes in the ocean, fished on the forecast, and (deliberately) overfished by a small amount some smaller coho stocks commingled with much more abundant ones. Then, the tribes (in many cases the Hoh) would be totally closed or closed early for conservation because the harvest had been taken. Court held that this was not legal.

Boldt even had provisions that prevented the Tribes from corking the NI steelheaders who fished upstream of them. I think the Tribal argument was that the anglers couldn't catch their share so it was foregone opportunity. But, the anglers never even had the opportunity for them so Boldt allowed for allocation closures when the share was taken.

For this to work, we need good forecast numbers, Yeah, sure. But we also need catch reporting and harvest controls. If one side is consistently ahead of the other, they need to be cut back. This requires hands-on management, and huevos.


I do not think that WDFW would want to rock that boat. Hey, three years ago I put in a rule change proposal to have rec seasons start when the first tribal pot goes into the water. Needless to say it didn't get much traction.
Posted by: Carcassman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/25/19 03:42 PM

Not sayin' WDFW would ever do such a thing but the tools are in the tool box.

As has been alluded to, there is way too much money and economic power at stake to rock the boat.
Posted by: ned

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/27/19 12:13 PM

[quote=Larry B]
- not because there is no opportunity but because there is no meaningful opportunity."

Exactly. Although the State crab season opens in early July, the number of keepers is low after Area 10 has been hammered over a month of commercial and subsistence fishing. The viable sport/rec season meaningful start is more like Mid August, as far as opportunity.


Subsistence
Open: 6:00AM Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Close: 6:00PM Monday, September 30, 2019
SUBSISTENCE LIMIT: Four pots and 6 crabs per ID holder per day unless otherwise noted. Harvesters must obtain a permit from the fisheries office.

WHY 4 POTS TO CATCH 6 CRAB??


Hey WDFW, This is from the Suquamish web site: " If during a season a population is considered reduced or more abundant than projected during the management period, all parties may examine available population data and discuss in-season quota adjustments."

When's this "discussion of in-season quota" going to happen, seeing as the sport share has been the lesser for consecutive 17 years?
( p.s. Similar disparity of 4.1 tons in Crab
Region 2W-Kingston to Pt. Townsend )

Posted by: Krijack

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/27/19 01:14 PM

Correction>>>>>>> If during a season, and after the Tribal share is taken, a population is considered reduced or more abundant than projected during the management period, all parties may examine available population data and discuss in-season quota adjustments of the harvest of any remaining harvestable numbers."

Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/27/19 01:16 PM

Originally Posted By: ned
[quote=Larry B]
- not because there is no opportunity but because there is no meaningful opportunity."

Exactly. Although the State crab season opens in early July, the number of keepers is low after Area 10 has been hammered over a month of commercial and subsistence fishing. The viable sport/rec season meaningful start is more like Mid August, as far as opportunity.


Subsistence
Open: 6:00AM Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Close: 6:00PM Monday, September 30, 2019
SUBSISTENCE LIMIT: Four pots and 6 crabs per ID holder per day unless otherwise noted. Harvesters must obtain a permit from the fisheries office.

WHY 4 POTS TO CATCH 6 CRAB??


Hey WDFW, This is from the Suquamish web site: " If during a season a population is considered reduced or more abundant than projected during the management period, all parties may examine available population data and discuss in-season quota adjustments."

When's this "discussion of in-season quota" going to happen, seeing as the sport share has been the lesser for consecutive 17 years?
( p.s. Similar disparity of 4.1 tons in Crab
Region 2W-Kingston to Pt. Townsend )



My experience is somewhat different in that whatever legal crab are left over by the July rec opener are quickly further depleted (2 weeks?) and that has been happening since the population started on a downward trend after those huge numbers of 6-8 years ago.

FYI - When the current policy was being evaluated by Staff they expressed concerns that all of the State quota in MA 9 would be taken in the summer season meaning no winter season. They also were concerned that in 8-2 there would be some residual poundage for NT commercials but that the poundage would be so low that WDFW might not be able to obtain and analyze that NT commercial harvest fast enough to prevent an over harvest of the State's 50%. I believe the time line for the NT harvest was two weeks. So what has happened?

In neither 8-2 nor 9 has the recreational summer plus winter harvest come close to the State's share with the result being that both areas have had NT commercial harvest. Not only that but the NT commercial seasons have run through January and into February consistently. So how can that be?

Two factors. First, the price of crab has continued to go up both ex vessel and at retail (to include Asian markets) and secondly those long seasons allow the NT commercials to work on crab that are molting and growing into the size allowable for harvest. Those are crab that would have been potentially available for recreational harvest that next summer.

So what can be done? Recalling that 8-1, 8-2 and 9 were identified to be primarily managed for recreational harvest the Commission and Staff could eliminate any NT commercial harvest in those areas. If that is unacceptable they could limit the period of any NT commercial seasons to a few weeks. Or they could simply start the winter rec season immediately after Labor Day and allow the recs to crab during the last of the decent weather for the year. Or some combination thereof.
Posted by: Carcassman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/27/19 02:19 PM

It was a long time ago, and it was salmon, but WDF had something like 90--95% of the commercial salmon catch in PS (I and NI) within 3 days of the fishery. Not only had, but it was on the computer system and available. With daily crab landings, no reason why information is not available within a couple of days. Generally, the afternoon after a GN fishery (they fished at night) we had enough information to make an informed guess as to what was going on.

The best one, though, was Canada DFO. They put purse seines into the mouth of the Fraser, a place that had never fished but were put there as their "share" was short. The target was 750K. After a few water hauls the boys found the fish and took the 750K in 4 hours. DFO closed it after 4 hours. It can be done, you just have to want to.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 05/27/19 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Carcassman
It was a long time ago, and it was salmon, but WDF had something like 90--95% of the commercial salmon catch in PS (I and NI) within 3 days of the fishery. Not only had, but it was on the computer system and available. With daily crab landings, no reason why information is not available within a couple of days. Generally, the afternoon after a GN fishery (they fished at night) we had enough information to make an informed guess as to what was going on.

The best one, though, was Canada DFO. They put purse seines into the mouth of the Fraser, a place that had never fished but were put there as their "share" was short. The target was 750K. After a few water hauls the boys found the fish and took the 750K in 4 hours. DFO closed it after 4 hours. It can be done, you just have to want to.


I agree with you. That was their story then and was made a part of the decision making process. The point being that it turned out not to be anywhere near accurate.
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/08/19 07:55 AM

Amazed no season opening announcement yet!
Posted by: SalishFish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/08/19 08:49 AM

Tribal boats apparently had a two day open in 8-1 (North end) as pots were littering Similk surrounds and are all out this morning. I could see lots of sorting and returns where prior years there were skads of females.

Kudos for all the thoughtful comments and information!
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/08/19 02:36 PM

Originally Posted By: RUNnGUN
Amazed no season opening announcement yet!


Expect to see the official announcement on Monday.
Posted by: slabhunter

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/10/19 04:37 PM

Just announced.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/puget-sound-rec...oma-south-puget
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/10/19 04:57 PM

Originally Posted By: slabhunter


The unanticipated wrinkle is the early closure of MA 10; open 4 July through 3 August (only). Reduction of season length is reportedly an effort to pay back 2018 recreational over harvest of State's share in that MA (no NT commercial fishery in MA 10).

Just speculation here....but did MA 10 get hit hard due to crabbing closures last year in MA 11 and 13?
Posted by: Lifter99

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/10/19 06:20 PM

Now that Area 11 and 13 are closed to sport crabbing are the tribes and/or NI commercials going to be fishing these areas this year?
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/10/19 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Lifter99
Now that Area 11 and 13 are closed to sport crabbing are the tribes and/or NI commercials going to be fishing these areas this year?


As I understand it the tribes will not have commercial fisheries in those areas but will have limited ceremonial and subsistence fisheries.
Posted by: Lifter99

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/11/19 04:25 AM

Thank you Larry. I kind of figured that.
Posted by: Lifter99

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/11/19 06:02 AM

To help the crab stocks recover, maybe the tribes should use artificial crab for ceremonial and subsistence for a few years. Sorry, my attempt at humor.
Posted by: Bay wolf

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/13/19 09:02 AM

Received this from a friend:

"I came across this yesterday during my routine "oversight" of the local NAs...the opening portion of the decree jumped off the page at me. Discussed "telephonically" on June 29th?--that hasn't even happened yet!! Putting the whole thing in perspective, I'm feeling as though this is more than just grist for mill. Referencing a "telephone call" after a "lack of agreement" caught my attention right from the get go.
note the date--WDFW had"delayed" going public re: Puget Sound Rec crab seasons up until just a few days back. The entire lower half of Hood Canal has been barren of Dungeness crab for over three years, and that's a fact..the upper half has been subject to nearly the same plight, but has been included in WDFW's seasonal options. My concern is this: how do you unilaterally open a 48 hr. COMMERCIAL AND SUBSISTENCE Tribal crabbing season estimated to see ten boats (?) employee thirty five pots each, and do so while professing adherence to resource conservation and sustained yield harvest? Furthermore, how can this be construed as anything more than outright greed and usurped authority that ignores any semblance of Co-Management?

The upper half of HC opens to crabbing on or about July 4th...good luck, Rec crabbers."

Skok Tribal Crab Announcement
Posted by: Blktailhunter

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/13/19 10:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Bay wolf
Received this from a friend:

"I came across this yesterday during my routine "oversight" of the local NAs...the opening portion of the decree jumped off the page at me. Discussed "telephonically" on June 29th?--that hasn't even happened yet!! Putting the whole thing in perspective, I'm feeling as though this is more than just grist for mill. Referencing a "telephone call" after a "lack of agreement" caught my attention right from the get go.
note the date--WDFW had"delayed" going public re: Puget Sound Rec crab seasons up until just a few days back. The entire lower half of Hood Canal has been barren of Dungeness crab for over three years, and that's a fact..the upper half has been subject to nearly the same plight, but has been included in WDFW's seasonal options. My concern is this: how do you unilaterally open a 48 hr. COMMERCIAL AND SUBSISTENCE Tribal crabbing season estimated to see ten boats (?) employee thirty five pots each, and do so while professing adherence to resource conservation and sustained yield harvest? Furthermore, how can this be construed as anything more than outright greed and usurped authority that ignores any semblance of Co-Management?

The upper half of HC opens to crabbing on or about July 4th...good luck, Rec crabbers."

Skok Tribal Crab Announcement


Sportiest will once again get the scraps as the tribes sweep it clean before July 4th

Tribal Crab opening in Hood Canal is scheduled for: Noon, Thursday June 27 to Noon Saturday June 29
Posted by: the_chemist

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/15/19 10:36 AM

Can I get a source on the 5 tons disparity please?
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/15/19 01:24 PM

Originally Posted By: the_chemist
Can I get a source on the 5 tons disparity please?


I believe Ned obtained that information directly from WDFW as it is not available on required annual report to the Commission. Here is a link to the report for the 2017 season:
https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/...esentation.pdf.

FYI before the emergence of the new WDFW web site one could find the annual reports back 10-12 years via the Commission's web page. What with the new (and not better) web site the records of their meetings is available back only to 2017 which simply doesn't cut it. Supposedly they will be fleshing out with more historical information as time ticks by......waiting, waiting and waiting some more.

In my opinion there should information for each management area which shows the initial agreement between co-managers as to the harvestable poundage plus any in-season adjustments plus the final harvest numbers by State and tribal crabbers.

That is of particular concern when a rec season is being cut back because of a prior year over harvest.

Another observation of concern is the split of the State's harvest between rec and commercial. If you go to the pertinent slide showing such information over a number of years it is apparent that non-tribal commercial crabbers are taking a higher percentage of the State's share to the detriment of the recreational crabbers.

Commission and managers should be looking at the NT commercial harvest numbers in MA 8-1, 8-2 and 9; seasons which have run from 1 Oct into late Jan or even February in recent years. And to the extent that recs have not come close to taking the State's share in those areas do they really need to compile summer harvest numbers before opening a winter season in those areas? Maybe just open the winter season the day after the summer season closes and implement an emergency closure if necessary when summer numbers are compiled.
Posted by: Lucky Louie

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/23/19 12:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Larry B
Originally Posted By: Lifter99
Now that Area 11 and 13 are closed to sport crabbing are the tribes and/or NI commercials going to be fishing these areas this year?


As I understand it the tribes will not have commercial fisheries in those areas but will have limited ceremonial and subsistence fisheries.


They have been crabbing up here and unloading at the Everett Boat ramp for their open June days, good luck to those that plan on the rec. opener in July.

Pretty good size but not filled out with meat was the complaint by the buyers while filling their semi refrigeration trailers or refrigeration trucks.
Posted by: CedarR

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/23/19 10:59 PM

Was supposed to attend a family dinner, this evening, where fresh dungeness crab was the main course. Eight crab were needed so I looked around here for a source. Checked three grocery stores; only one had crab. They were small, previously frozen and $9.95 a pound. My son checked the seafood store near his place at midweek. They had none, but told him to come back on the weekend. When he returned, live dungies were available at $19.95 a pound. These crabs averaged 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each. At roughly $20 a pound, the eight crabs were going to cost $50 to $60 apiece, for a total bill of $400-$480.

Everyone at the dinner enjoyed their beef tenderloin...
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/24/19 10:12 AM

Wow, $19.95/# would be impossible to swallow. While crab prices fluctuate quite a bit over a year the general trend is for much higher prices which is what keeps the Puget Sound NT commercial crabbers (think MA 8-1, 8-2 and 9) going even though their harvest rate is pretty low.
Posted by: Chip Goodhue

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/25/19 03:11 PM

Anyone know how the rec catch in A-10 has varied over the last few years. My experience in 2018 was that the crabs largely disappeared from central A-10, and overall pressure fell off over the season since the crabbing sucked. 2017 summer and the short fall season in 2017 were really good, then the crab seemed to just vanish in 2018. Hard to believe there was rec over harvest in A-10 in 2018.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 06/27/19 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Chip Goodhue
Anyone know how the rec catch in A-10 has varied over the last few years. My experience in 2018 was that the crabs largely disappeared from central A-10, and overall pressure fell off over the season since the crabbing sucked. 2017 summer and the short fall season in 2017 were really good, then the crab seemed to just vanish in 2018. Hard to believe there was rec over harvest in A-10 in 2018.


We are on the cusp of the 2019 season and WDFW Staff have yet to present their required annual report to the Commission on the prior year's crab season.

That is further hampered by the fact that the new and (not) improved website has dropped most of the historical Commission years so one cannot even dig through their prior meetings to find the annual crab reports. Available are meetings in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to current.

The 2017 recreational harvest in MA 10 (crab area 4) appears to have been around 50K pounds (page 9 of the report https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/...resentation.pdf).

The 2016 recreational harvest there appears to have been right at 250K pounds (page 9 of the report https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/...resentation.pdf).

FWIW keep in mind that MA 11 and 13 were both closed in 2018 so it is reasonable to conclude that that caused some additional pressure on MA 10.

Edit: The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting is 2/3 August in Olympia. If Staff doesn't make a presentation during that session the next Commission meeting is 13/14 September in Winthrop - don't think those folks will be much interested in a P.S. crabbing report.

Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/05/19 08:19 AM

Pretty decent crabbing yesterday on the opener.
Way better then the past two years.
Some 7Ē+ crabs in the limits my buddy and I got yesterday.
SF
Posted by: Steelheadman

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/05/19 12:59 PM

Originally Posted By: stonefish
Pretty decent crabbing yesterday on the opener.
Way better then the past two years.
Some 7Ē+ crabs in the limits my buddy and I got yesterday.
SF


That's pretty good. Buddy and I each got one keeper today after a 24 hour soak. I gave him mine. Tons of crab buoys. Lots of females and rock crab in the traps. I drove out to the res last week and I saw a tribal crabber hauling traps. Numbers have really gone down the past couple of years.
Posted by: CedarR

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/05/19 01:43 PM

Saw a local grocery store advertising "FRESH" Dungeness crab this week. They were $8.99 a pound, contingent on weather and availability. Haven't checked back to see if they actually got any in. We bought a couple earlier in the season; they were semi-soft and half filled out with low quality meat. Fool me once...
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/06/19 08:14 PM

Three of us had a total of six pots out during the incoming tides on Thursday and Friday; six keepers on Thursday and two on Friday. That was as poor an opener we've had in years in 8-2. Hoping that next week with lower water flows it will be a bit better......

I saw crab in the market last week at $10.99/# so I guess we've already paid for our licenses.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/07/19 08:12 AM

Got a couple more yesterday while hillbilly crabbing.
Bait box full of chicken wired to a garden stake.
Fun to watch the crabs emerge from deeper water following the scent trail on their journey to some boiling water.
Caught some nice cutts while waiting for the crabs to make their appearance.

The opener limits we got Thursday came from walking eel grass flats with trout nets.
Damn near as fun as fishing and one hell of a leg workout.
SF
Posted by: Blktailhunter

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/07/19 08:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Larry B
Three of us had a total of six pots out during the incoming tides on Thursday and Friday; six keepers on Thursday and two on Friday. That was as poor an opener we've had in years in 8-2. Hoping that next week with lower water flows it will be a bit better......

I saw crab in the market last week at $10.99/# so I guess we've already paid for our licenses.


We too dropped 6 pots on the opener. 9 hour soak for 11 just legal keepers and and handful of softies. Rebaited and soaked over night. Only 7 the next morning. Our worst opener ever. I really think the geoduck divers, that have been hitting the area hard the last several years and were at it again Friday morning are affecting crabbing. On the Friday pull we had 4 empty pots. Bait (horse clams) wasnít even touched.
Posted by: CedarR

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/07/19 12:13 PM

Originally Posted By: stonefish
Got a couple more yesterday while hillbilly crabbing.
Bait box full of chicken wired to a garden stake.
Fun to watch the crabs emerge from deeper water following the scent trail on their journey to some boiling water.
Caught some nice cutts while waiting for the crabs to make their appearance.

The opener limits we got Thursday came from walking eel grass flats with trout nets.
Damn near as fun as fishing and one hell of a leg workout.
SF


Always enjoyed the boatless crabbing techniques...rings/pots off docks and trestles, castable crab catchers and wading the eel grass flats. We used to stay for a month in Westport each summer. Then, we could catch a limit on almost any low tide by wading the flats of Half Moon Bay. That technique combined the "thrill of the hunt" with the fun of catching crab. Your last statement sums it up perfectly.

I used a garden cultivator tool for catching the crab. It had a five foot handle and four five inch tines. The tines were dull and wouldn't puncture a crab's shell. This poor man's crab rake worked well to pull buried crab out of the sand; when you found a crab scurrying to get away, you could corner it and it would clamp onto the tines...game over! Once when wading, I was seeing nothing, nada. I must have banged the rake on the bottom, because the sand around my feet exploded with dozens of legal sized crab, all heading for the deepwater of the bay. It was like flushing a covey of quail, but only having a single shot shotgun.

Going to have to try your "hillbilly crabbing" technique. Anybody have suggestions for keeping crab alive for longer periods, when you can't cook them promptly and you have aways to go before you can process them.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/07/19 07:27 PM

Cedar,
Since Iím generally wading when crabbing, I put them in a Costco plastic garbage sack or mess bag that I tie to my wading belt.
Their claws puncture enough holes in the plastic bag that they get good water circulation from being in the water the entire time.
Once I get back to the rig, I put them in a cooler with a small bit of ice.
After leaving the beach and waiting in the ferry line it was a couple hours until I got home yesterday.
Both were still well alive and ready to do battle when I got home and took them out of the bag.
Hope this helps.
SF
Posted by: CedarR

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/07/19 07:48 PM

Thanks, stonefish. I used a wet burlap bag to drag them around in the water and back to camp. It took about 30 minutes to run back to camp; another 30 minutes to get the crabs in boiling water. If I bring them back to Olympia, I'd probably have to keep them alive for three hours.
Posted by: Take-Down

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/08/19 06:33 AM

We manage to keep them alive in a cooler for about four hours. As noted, don't submerge them in water. Let them breath normal air, we prop the door open. And also as noted above, keep them cool. we usually wet a towel with salt water and ring it out over them. I also think they last longer when right side up vs upside down but I could be wrong about that. We did fine in MA 10 over the last few days. Not 'great' like some past openers but consistent with about a 2.5 keeper per pot. Not many lunkers, maybe just 2 or 3 all weekend. Shallower pots did better--probably because of the big tidal exchange. For the first time, I saw several really tiny little baby crabs on the edge of our boat and gear (multiple days, but mostly same area)--like pencil eraser size (smaller than the crabs on the beach that come out from under rocks). Anyone else see those tiny crab?
Posted by: CedarR

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/08/19 09:08 AM

Thanks for the info, Take-Down.
Posted by: OceanSun

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/08/19 05:46 PM

You can drown the crabs in a finite amount of water. Keep their gills wet and they'll breath air. Dunk em occasionally or dump a bucket of new water over them in the cooler with the drain open.

Alternatively, you can clean and ice them until you can get them to your cooker.
Posted by: CedarR

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/08/19 11:34 PM

Good to know, OceanSun. Now, all I have to do is catch some...
Posted by: Larry B

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/09/19 08:31 AM

Originally Posted By: OceanSun
You can drown the crabs in a finite amount of water. Keep their gills wet and they'll breath air. Dunk em occasionally or dump a bucket of new water over them in the cooler with the drain open.

Alternatively, you can clean and ice them until you can get them to your cooker.


Crab Rules: Just a reminder that if you possess cleaned crab in the field you must retain the back shell.
Posted by: OceanSun

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/09/19 12:20 PM

Correct - I usually keep the back shells in a bucket until leaving the boat launch. An exception to that rule is if you're preparing for immediate consumption such as a beach crab boil.
Posted by: RUNnGUN

Re: When Will PS Crab Seasons Be Announced? - 07/09/19 05:44 PM

I didn't get out this opener but friends that did said keeper crabs were numerous but 30-40% soft and released them. Others said very few soft ones? Wonder if location makes a difference or just luck? Anyway headed up to our yearly San Juan opener. Hope softies are few and far between.