Well, recreational crabbing was going well in Useless Bay this year. Past years have been “so-so” due to the pressure from Commercial and Native interests prior to the recreational season opening.
This year was, I emphasize “was,” different until this morning. The fleet showed up in force, and carpeted the entire bay with crab pots. Literally hundreds of pots are spread across the bay from Maxwelton to Sunlight and across to Double Bluff. If you’ve never seen something like this, it’s an amazing sight. Crab buoys cover the surface of the water, making other water activities such as salmon trolling or water skiing impossible.
From discussions in past years with WDFW, there’s a “nothing we can do about it” response. They, the Commercial and Native interests, are allowed to fish for their annual quotas without regard to what they are doing to the local fishery. It doesn’t matter how many pots are spread or how many crab are harvested from a given area. There are no controls of that type to ensure longevity of the local fishery. There will be no crab left in Useless Bay simply based on the number of pots that have been dropped in a single day.
This is unfortunate for us, the recreational crabbers, but more so a devastation to the fishery. More needs to be done to manage and sustain this scarce resource.