Our Position on Protecting the Resource

Crab Fishing Facts

  • Washington voters have rejected Sport Priority twice soundly.

  • Southern Half of Puget Sound is already a Sport Exclusive Area.

  • The Commercial Crab Fleet is the access to the resource for over 6.5 million residents of Washington State while the Recreational Fleet represents approx. 241,000 fishers that already harvest 34% of the (non treaty) allocation of Puget Sound Crab. That's 3.5% of the population using 34% of the resource.

  • The recent Performance Audit Report for Puget Sound Crab Fishing, Clearly Identifies the noncompliance and mishandling of crab by the Recreational Fishery as a Threat to the Resource.

  • The only Faltering stocks of Crab in the State is Hood Canal which is a non Commercial / Sport Exclusive area. The state WDFW method of counting Recreational crab, results in Inaccurate Numbers. The Recreational Crab Fishery has a Noncompliance / Violation rate of 45% nearly half of participants.

  • WDFW Enforcement is inadequate, WDFW enforcement north of Everett which includes regions 1 and 2-East has been reduced from 7 officers to 3 as of 2009 due to cutbacks in budget dollars. This means there is inadequate enforcement to protect the resource.

  • History proves that Recreational dominated Fisheries have led to Failure as has become evident with the Hood Canal Sport Exclusive area. (Non state commercial fishery)

  • Commercial Fishers have made substantial reductions in their seasons and trap numbers to stay within allocation. Shortened seasons and reduced traps have already had severe impacts to the viability of the fishery for many commercial fishers as lost opportunity translates directly to unemployment.

  • Northern Tribes of Washington oppose any increased recreational fishery. The Lummi Nation has clearly and repeatedly disagreed with the WDFW (state) accounting of recreational numbers. Furthermore they feel that much of the available resource at Sandy Point, Pt. Migley and Bellingham Bay is over harvested and abused by local recreational fishers making multiple trips and depleting the resource. Therefore they have no confidence in the numbers provided by the WDFW for recreational landings.

PSCA Position Statement

  1.  PSCA has always had a conservation first Policy to protect the future of the resource and were responsible for proposing Bio-degradable rot chords as well as escape ring size increase.

  2. PSCA strongly believes the interest of the recreational fleet is only to obtain as much of the resource (crab) and area as possible with no concern for the long term health of the resource for future generations.

  3. PSCA feels that the definition of a quality recreational opportunity has already been met with the opportunity to harvest up to 100 crabs each in the summer fishery alone. How much crab can a person really eat? How much is given away to neighbors or traded for services? Or ends up in the garbage due to freezer burn?

  4. PSCA will continue to Lobby on behalf of the enforcement division of the WDFW who are dedicated to their jobs but are understaffed and underfunded. We feel that it is negligent to grant more access to a recreational fleet that has been proven to be grossly noncompliant with regulations without adequate Enforcement in place to protect the resource.

  5. PSCA believes that for any reasonable plan to move forward it is crucial that it include a payback plan from any party (Recreational included) that catches over their harvest allocation.

  6. PSCA affirms that the Commission proceeds with any reallocation process based on the criteria prescribed in its charter Policy to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the resources. Economic values should not be a consideration.

  7. PSCA feels that until such time the state can provide an accurate accounting of all of the crab being harvested in Puget Sound that reallocation of any proportion is unjustified.