Last week we heard from Jim Griffis who sent us this picture of
Port Orchard Police Department’s patrol boat, with officers on deck
pulling crab pots.
Griffis said the officers appeared to be taking photographs of the crabs and gear. He found it “very unusual” since the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has jurisdiction over crabbing regulations.
True, but the police help out as they are needed, according to Chief Geoffrey Marti. The city of Port Orchard has binding agreements with a number of different agencies, including Fish & Wildlife to assist with enforcement. Part of the reason is that grant money used to purchase the boat requires inter-agency cooperation with other jurisdictions.
One such agreement ensures help on the water from Port Orchard to the city of Bremerton, which does not have its own patrol boat. Fish & Wildlife has boats, but wildlife officers can’t be everywhere. Neither can Port Orchard officers, but if they see something illegal, they’re not going to turn a blind eye, Cmdr. Dale Schuster said.
“We’re not going to walk away from a violation that’s right in front of us.” Schuster said.
Schuster said the crabbing enforcement documented by Griffis happened on July 16 (a Tuesday) in Yukon Harbor, according to POPD records. Crabbing in this area is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (as in all of area 10 covering the Seattle/Bremerton region). Other regulations apply. The catch is limited to male crabs of a minimum size (depending on the variety). Gear must meet DFW specifications, and the catch must be recorded.
According to Schuster three illegal pots were pulled; two belonged to the same person. The third belonged to another person.
So the next time you see a law enforcement marine patrol boat checking out crab pots, you can be assured they’re not after a seafood dinner.