Crab fine approved

A $10 penalty for failing to comply with Puget Sound crab catch-reporting requirements was approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission during a meeting in Olympia Sept. 5 and 6.

The citizens commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the department’s proposal to begin enforcing the fine starting next year with catch reports due after the 2009 crab season.

Sport crabbers in Puget Sound are required to record their Dungeness crab catch on separate catch record cards, one for the summer season and one for the fall/winter season. People have the option of reporting that harvest information on the Internet or by mailing in their catch cards.

Under the new rules, crabbers who fail to report their catch will be required to pay $10 before a license vendor will issue a new catch record card for the following Puget Sound crab season. According to WDFW, less than a third of the 200,000 people licensed to fish for Dungeness crab in Puget Sound reported their catch as required.

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