Fish and wildlife officers on patrol for poachers

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

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Sgt. Erik Olson and Officer Mike Apple were looking for crab poachers in the central Puget Sound area Monday.

When they pulled up to a Bayliner named the "Mama Meya," there were two adults and four children on board.

They had two buckets of freshly caught crab. Officers said seven out of 10 of those crabs were taken illegally.

Four were undersized, four were unreported on catch cards, and three others had soft shells indicating they had recently molted their old shells, and should have been tossed back, police said. 

Olson issued an $87 ticket for the unreported crab.

He said the Snohomish County prosecutor would eventually decide whether all four fishermen would face misdemeanor charges for possessing undersize crab, which could cost each one another $200.

The fishermen did not give us their names. We offered them a chance to explain their actions. One of them said, "I don't think so. We'll just cut our losses. We'll pay our penalty and cut our losses." 

Olson said the state enforces rules regulating crab fishing to protect the resource, so there will be crab in the future. One of the reasons catches must be recorded is to make sure the harvest is fairly divided between sport, commercial and tribal fishermen.