Educational resources available to help reduce the loss of crab pots

Piles of crab pots

July 1 is opening day for recreational crabbing in Puget Sound. Each year an estimated 12,000 crab pots are lost in Puget Sound, resulting in the capture of an estimated 180,000 Dungeness crab a year with no one to harvest them. The Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and the Northwest Straits Foundation continue to partner to educate crabbers about the problem.

There are several ways crabbers can prevent losing their pots:

  • Avoid marine transit and ferry lanes.
  • 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 changes.
  • Use longer line. Use one-third more line than the water depth to allow for tide changes.
  • Secure 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 handy checklist and additional information can also be found at You will find instructional videos, helpful apps and other resources to help catch more crab and avoid having your crab pots become one of the 12,000 lost each year.

Marine Resources Committee members will be at the 10th Street Boat Launch in Everett starting on July 1. Volunteers will be on-site in the mornings of July 1, 2, 8 and 9 from 6-10 a.m., providing educational materials including free rot cord and gauges for measuring your catch. Come with any questions you may have on how to correctly set up your crab pot so you can catch more crab. The goal is more crab for you, less lost pots for Puget Sound.

The Marine Resources Committee is a service provided by Snohomish County Surface Water Management, a division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. For more information, visit

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