Recreational crabbing opened Friday in Puget Sound, and the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and the Northwest Straits Foundation have suggestions for crabbers to prevent the loss of crab pots.
Each year, an estimated 12,000 crab pots are lost in Puget Sound, resulting in the capture of an estimated 180,000 Dungeness crab a year with no one to harvest them. There are several ways crabbers can prevent losing their pots:
Avoid marine transit and ferry lanes.
Check tides and currents. Avoid crabbing during strong tidal changes and currents.
Make buoys more visible. Add a second buoy or stick and flag.
Use a weighted line to sink below the surface and avoid being cut by passing boats.
Weight your pot so they do not move in high currents or tidal changes.
Use longer line. Use one-third more line than the water depth to allow for tide changes.
Secure lid and escape panels with biodegradable cotton escape cord. This allows crabs to escape from lost pots after the cord degrades.
Stay with your pot. A watched pot will bring home more crab.
This checklist and additional information can also be found at www.derelictgear.org. You will find instructional videos, apps and other resources to help catch more crab and avoid having your crab pots become one of the 12,000 lost each year.
MRC members will be at the 10th Street Boat Launch in Everett the mornings of July 1, 2, 8 and 9, providing educational materials including free rot cord and gauges for measuring your catch. Come with any questions you may have on how to correctly set up your crab pot so you can catch more crab.