The open times and areas for coastal commercial crab fishing are as follows:
(1) Coastal, Pacific Ocean, Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay and Columbia River waters are open to commercial crab fishing December 1 through September 15 except that it is permissible to set baited crab gear beginning at 8:00 a.m. November 28.
(2) The department may delay opening of the coastal crab fishery due to softshell crab conditions. If the department delays a season due to softshell crab conditions, the following provisions will apply:
(a) After consultation with the Oregon department of fish and wildlife and the California department of fish and wildlife, the director may establish a softshell crab demarcation line by emergency rule.
(b) For waters of the Pacific Ocean north of Point Arena, California, it is unlawful for a person to use a vessel to fish in any area where the season opening is delayed due to softshell crab for the first 30 days following the opening of the area if the vessel was employed in the coastal crab fishery during the previous 45 days.
(c) It is unlawful for fishers to set crab gear in any area where the season opening is delayed, except that gear may be set as allowed by emergency rule. Emergency rules will allow setting 64 hours in advance of the delayed season opening time.
(d) It is unlawful to fish for or possess Dungeness crab or to set crab gear in waters of the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the states of Oregon or California without the licenses or permits required to commercially fish for Dungeness crab within the state waters of Oregon or California. Washington coastal Dungeness crab permits are valid only in Washington state waters, the Columbia River, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, and the Pacific Ocean in federal waters north of the Washington/Oregon border (46°15'00"N. Lat.), extending 200 nautical miles westward.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.013, 77.04.055, 77.12.045, and 77.12.047. 12-23-016 (Order 12-267), § 220-52-045, filed 11/9/12, effective 12/10/12.]