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Catch More Crab


crabpotCrabbing is a popular activity in Washington for recreational crabbers. With affordable crab pots and high abundance of Dungeness crabs in Puget Sound, pots are lost at an extraordinarily high rate and very few are retrieved. This is a problem for the organisms living on the sea floor as well as crabs that get trapped in these lost pots. There are ways to rig a crab pot so it has a proper escape hatch in case it gets lost, but with an average of 12,000 pots lost per year, prevention is the best strategy.


The Northwest Straits Initiative is working together to reduce the loss of crab pots in Puget Sound.  The Northwest Straits Foundation is working regionally with MRCs to coordinate regional outreach for all seven counties.  Learn more about their work here.

The Dungeness crab fishery is abundant and we want everyone to be able to benefit from this. If you follow the tips below, you’re more likely to keep your pot and your friends will too!


  • CHECK TIDES AND CURRENTS. Avoid crabbing during strong tidal changes and currents.
  • USE HIGH VISIBILITY BUOYS to clearly mark your gear.
  • 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 changes
  • USE LONGER LINE. Use 1/3 more line than water depth to allow for changes in tides and currents
  • SECURE LID AND ESCAPE PANELS WITH BIODEGRADABLE COTTON ESCAPE CORD. This allows crabs to escape from lost pots after the cord degrades.


Additional Resources

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WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife Crabbing information