Environment
9:20 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Illegal crab activity Puget Sound put crab populations at risk

With more people taking up crabbing in Puget Sound, the people who police the harvest are seeing an uptick in illegal activity. Officials say the illegal activity is a major threat to future crab populations.

The Seattle Times reports there's no shortage of crustacean scofflaws. The offenders include recreational fishermen who don't get licenses or ignore quotas and size limit to large-scale poaching by commercial or tribal fishermen.

State fish and wildlife officer Erik Olson says it's not uncommon to find violations on 50 to 80 percent of the recreational crabbing boats they stop.

A review last year by the state Auditor's Office called widespread illegal crabbing one of the biggest threats to future crab populations.