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Catch More Crabs, Lose Less Pots! A Crabbing Outreach Workshop

JULY 15, 2019 — On June 26, the NOAA Marine Debris Program Pacific Northwest Coordinator joined 40 current and future Puget Sound Dungeness crabbers in a well-attended workshop to learn how to catch more crabs and lose less crab pots.

Crabber Outreach Workshop program cover.
Image credit: Northwest Straits Foundation.

The workshop, provided jointly by the Northwest Straits Foundation and Jefferson County Marine Resource Committee, was conducted as part of a project supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program to remove derelict crab pots from two areas of the Salish Sea, and conduct targeted outreach to local recreational crabbers. 

It is estimated that over 10,000, mostly recreational crab pots are lost in the Salish Sea each year.  While removal of lost crab pots is helpful, it is also expensive and insufficient in addressing the problem holistically. Prevention of crab pot loss is critical, and when it comes to recreational crabbing, a little knowledge can go a long way to prevent  loss and increase catch of the tasty creatures. 

The workshop began with an informative presentation by Rich Childers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He described the complex background and management of the sustainable crab fishery in the Salish Sea and provided the essential rules governing recreational crab fishing. Next, Troy McKelvey and Don Williams, two seasoned crabbers, shared their extensive knowledge of how to prepare, deploy, and recover crab pots successfully, all while maximizing the chances of catching crabs, and minimizing the risk that the pots will be lost. Participants asked lots of good questions, and even inquired about Troy and Don’s favorite places to go crabbing… Troy and Don answered the many questions, using pots to demonstrate best use of equipment and techniques.  

No doubt, the workshop provided excellent information, and it is hoped that all who attended will put it to good use, catch crabs and not lose pots. 

For more information contact Nir.Barnea@noaa.gov.  

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