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June 29, 2017

Northwest Straits Foundation and Skagit County Marine Resources Committee’s Salish Sea Stewards are Educating Crabbers on Opening Weekend

The Northwest Straits Initiative is educating crabbers to make sure your crab pot is not one of the estimated 12,000 which 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 our checklist:

  • 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 changesUSE LONGER LINE. Use 1/3 more line than water depth to allow for changes in tides and currentsSECURE 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 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.

Be on the lookout for volunteers with the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee’s Salish Sea Stewards Program at your local boat launches on the opening weekends of July 1st for Marine Area 6 and July 15th for Marine Area 7 South. They will be providing educational materials, gauges for measuring your catch, and are available to discuss how to correctly set your crab pot so you can catch more crab.  You may also find these educational materials while purchasing your license at local retailers. Be sure to take the online survey and enter to win new crabbing gear:  https://goo.gl/iwvhXB.  Our goal is no more lost crab pots in Puget Sound and for everyone to have a successful day on the water.

About the Northwest Straits Foundation
The Northwest Straits Foundation is the nonprofit partner in the Northwest Straits Initiative, authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1998 as an alternative to a National Marine Sanctuary in Puget Sound. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resource Committees (MRCs) bringing together scientists and countless community volunteers to protect and restore the health of our marine resources. For more information visit www.nwstraitsfoundation.org.

About the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee
The Skagit County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) combines sound science and a citizen-science based approach to protecting and restoring the marine resources of the Northwest Straits region. A key task for the MRC is to involve and educate the public about these issues. The projects and priorities are determined at the local level, taking into account diverse interests and perspectives; the methods are science-based; and most importantly, community involvement is essential. For more information visit www.skagitmrc.org.

About the Salish Sea Stewards Program
The Salish Sea Stweards Program, initiated by the Skagit County MRC in 2014 and administered by the Coastal Volunteer Partnership at Padilla Bay, is an educational program providing 50 hours of free citizen science training taught by local experts in nearshore ecology and conservation issues. Volunteers have an opportunity to learn how to become beach naturalists to help educate families and the general public about marine life and how they can become better stewards of the marine environment. Paricipants commit to volunteering 50 hours on local citizen science and environmental projects and outreach events. For more information visit www.coastalvolunteerpartnership.org.