Project Period: 2008 - Present
As part of the Northwest Straits Initiative, Skagit MRC volunteers are helping to educate recreational crabbers about proper crabbing techniques in an effort to reduce the number of crab pots lost in our marine waters each year.
Currently, there is an estimated 12,000 crab pots that are lost in Puget Sound every year. Lost crab pots continue to capture crab with no one to harvest them; resulting in over 180,000 Dungeness crab killed each year. That is a lot of wasted crab not making it to the dinner table.
Lost crab pots can often be prevented by following the Northwest Straits Initiative's checklist:
• STAY WITH YOUR POT. A watched pot will bring home more crab.
• 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 1/3 more line than water depth to allow for changes in tides and currents
• SECURE LID AND ESCAPE PANELS WITH BIODEGRADABLE COTTON ESCAPE CORD. This allows crabs to escape from lost pots after the cord degrades.
This list can be found at www.derelictgear.org to ensure your pot is set correctly and remains in place until harvest time. At this webpage you will also find instructional videos, helpful apps, and additional resources to help you keep your crab pots safe so you can catch more crab. Do not come home empty handed; be sure you are in the know before you go.
Take the online survey and enter to win new crabbing gear!
To learn more about the Northwest Straits Initiative's #CatchMoreCrab social marketing campaign click here.
Local Crabber Outreach
Volunteers with the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee’s Salish Sea Stewards Program could be found at local boat launches in Skagit County on the opening weekend of crabbing season. They provided educational materials, gauges for measuring crabs, and were available to discuss how to correctly set crab pots so to catch more crab. These educational materials were also made available at some of the local retailers that sell crabbing licences.
Check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's video "The Recreational Crab Fishery in Puget Sound" here.
Crabber Outreach Materials. Photo from the Skagit Valley Herald