Statewide Gear Rules
Crab, Shrimp & Crawfish
Report Lost Shellfishing Gear
 
Puget Sound Dungeness Crab
Catch Record Card

Attention Marine Area 13 crab fishers:
Recreational crab fishers in Marine Area 13 in Puget Sound should report their catch on 2014 catch record cards starting June 1. Language on the catch cards stating that they are "valid from July 1, 2014 through September 1 2014" has been waived to accommodate a June 1 opening in that marine area.
REMEMBER... Everyone fishing for crab in Puget Sound (even persons under the age of 15 who don't need a fishing license) needs to carry and maintain a catch record card. Your catch record card needs to be reported online, dropped off at a nearby WDFW regional office, or mailed to the WDFW address on the card by the date listed on the card (or when you've finished crabbing for the year). See WAC 220-56-175

Winter Catch Record Cards Now Available!
Dungeness crab catch record cards are issued when a Puget Sound crab endorsement is obtained from any license vendor. One CRC will be valid for the summer fishing season June through Labor Day. The second CRC will be valid for a fall/winter fishing season, defined as the day after Labor Day through December 31. Winter Catch Record Cards are available at any vendor after August 15th of each year.

Every Dungeness crab fisher plays a vital role in ensuring that sustainable fishing opportunities continue into the future. In addition to knowing and following the fishing rules, one of the most important responsibilities crabbers have as stewards of the resource is to comply with catch record card (CRC) requirements.

Fishery managers rely on catch information provided by fishers to manage the Puget Sound Dungeness crab fishery and plan future seasons. Just as fishery managers rely on fish tickets to track commercial harvest, they depend on CRCs to estimate recreational crab catch. CRCs are also used to account for recreational harvest of other species such as steelhead, salmon, sturgeon, and halibut. Dungeness crab was added to the list of fisheries requiring a catch record card in 2000 at the direction of the state Legislature, in an effort to improve harvest estimates. Prior to 2000, Dungeness crab harvest estimates relied on field-based surveys and voluntary returns of logbooks.

State law requires all recreational Dungeness crab fishers in Puget Sound to have a Dungeness crab endorsement and a current CRC. Youth anglers under the age of 15 are not required to purchase a fishing license, however, they are required to have a Puget Sound crab endorsement and maintain a CRC. Youth anglers are issued crab endorsements and CRCs at no charge. When properly maintained, these CRCs provide an up-to-date and ongoing account of each crabber's catch throughout a crabbing season. Sport fishers who fail to carry and maintain a CRC are subject to a citation, which carries a fine of $80.

Since January 2007, Dungeness crab CRCs have only been required and issued to Puget Sound crab fishers. Dungeness crab CRCs are separated from all other species and crab fishers will be issued one or two CRCs when they purchase a Puget Sound crab endorsement with a fishing license.

Dungeness crab catch record cards are issued when a Puget Sound crab endorsement is obtained from any license vendor. One CRC will be valid for the summer fishing season June through Labor Day. The second CRC will be valid for a fall/winter fishing season, defined as the day after Labor Day through December 31. Winter Catch Record Cards are available at any vendor after August 15th of each year.

CRCs must be reported online or returned to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) by mailing it to the address printed on the card. Failure to return your CRC card or by report the catch online by the deadlines printed on the card will result in a $10 penalty on your next crab endorsement purchase.  Cards must be reported online or returned whether or not the cardholder caught or fished for crab during the season.

While WDFW is exploring ways to improve the recreational crab catch-accounting system, the total recreational catch in recent years has come very close to the total recreational share for Puget Sound. Fishery managers credit CRCs - and the recreational crabbers who maintain them - with helping to reach that level of accuracy.

Example of Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Catch Record CardInstructions and Examples

  • Immediately after catching a Dungeness crab and before fishing again, record in ink: marine catch area, catch date (month and day), and one tally mark for each crab kept. Do not record red rock crab or any other species of crab besides Dungeness crab.  Use a separate line for each marine area in which you fish.  
  • At the end of each fishing trip, or prior to moving to a new catch area, enter the total number of tally marks in the "Total Crab Kept" column. In this column, the total number of crab kept for that marine catch area and day should be recorded.  
  • Only record your catch on your CRC. Catch from other individuals fishing with you should be recorded on their CRCs.
  • Return your Dungeness crab CRC or report online even if you never went crabbing or no crab were caught. Failure to report the information on your card could result in a $10 penalty on your next crab endorsement purchase and cause inaccuracies in the catch estimates.

    The CRC may be reported online, returned to any WDFW regional office, or mailed to:

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    Fish Program Catch Record Card Office
    600 Capitol Way N
    Olympia, WA 98501-1091