July 13, 2024 9:45 am

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Educational resources available to help reduce the loss of crab pots

SNOHOMISH COUNTY—Each year an estimated 12,000 crab pots are lost in Puget Sound, resulting in the capture of an estimated 180,000 Dungeness crab with no one to harvest them. As July 1 was opening day for recreational crabbing in Puget Sound, the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and the Northwest Straits Foundation are educating crabbers, and the public, about the problem.

crab pots
SOURCE: Northwest Straits Foundation

Luckily 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 handy checklist and additional information can also be found at http://www.derelictgear.org. You will find instructional videos, helpful 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 on the mornings of July 6 and 7, from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. providing educational materials including free rot cord, bait hooks, 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. The goal is more crab for you, less lost pots for Puget Sound.

About the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee

The Marine Resources Committee (MRC) is a service provided by Snohomish County Surface Water Management, a division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The MRC’s goal is to understand, protect, and restore the marine and estuarine ecosystems of the county. Local citizens appointed by County Council use science-based information to develop and implement projects and help shape local and regional marine conservation policy. MRC members work to complement ongoing efforts by both government and non-profit agencies. There are seven MRCs in the Northwest Straits region of the Puget Sound. For more information, visit www.snocomrc.org.

About the Northwest Straits Foundation

The Northwest Straits Foundation is the nonprofit partner in the Northwest Straits Initiative, a regional marine conservation program authorized by Congress in 1998. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and at http://nwstraitsfoundation.org/.

About Snohomish County Conservation and Natural Resources

The Snohomish County Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) includes the Division of Surface Water Management; the Division of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; the Office of Energy and Sustainability and the Office of Agriculture. DCNR works in support of thriving communities; a clean and healthy environment to foster environmental stewardship; ensuring food security; supporting a green economy, and strengthening communities by providing regional parks and infrastructure; protecting the region’s water, air, land and natural habitats; enhancing agriculture and recreation; and reducing flooding. https://snohomishcountywa.gov/5758.

SOURCE: Snohomish County Surface Water Management

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