The Rape of Hood Canal WASeptember 24th, 2010 by Rich Jacobson
As an avid crabbing enthusiast, I spend a lot of time out on the Hood Canal during the Summer months, motoring around in my trusty C-Dory, in pursuit of the prized Dungeness Crab.
Labor Day weekend normally signals an end to the recreational crabbing season for Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal), so we were out dropping our pots, hoping to finish the season with nice legal limit (5 male dungeness crabs per licensed person).
As we headed into the public boat ramp at Miami Beach in Seabeck WA, we noticed what appeared to be a commercial fishing boat offloading oysters at the ramp. As we got closer, we noted two WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife patrol trucks and several WDFW officers observing the unloading of their harvest.
Evidently, one of the local tribal fisheries had employed some migrant workers (a common practice used to avoid a regulation loophole so that oysters can be harvested from public land). Unfortunately, none of the workers possessed the proper licensing required, and the tally of oysters was well beyond the legal limits.
I never realized that such blatant violations as mentioned above were so commonplace and prevalent in the Puget Sound.
I, for one, am thankful that we have an agency such as the WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to enforce and deter such illegal activities. Unfortunately, their reach and effectiveness is limited. For every violator that is caught, dozens go on undetected.
According to the WDFW website, there are currently only 141 commissioned Fish and Wildlife Officers in Washington, approximately 1 for every 43,288 citizens. The State of Washington encompasses 66,582 square miles, 157 miles of coast line, 3,026 miles of shoreline, 8,000 lakes and 40,000 miles of rivers and streams.
As concerned citizens and faithful stewards of the rich bounty afforded to us, we need to support the officers of Fish & Wildlife, and report potential violators immediately.
For instructions on how to report potential poaching violators, GO HERE.