Ban on shrimp fishing enacted for inland waters

EVERETT — Kevin Nihart made a living by fishing for spot shrimp in the waters of Possession Sound and selling his harvest off the dock near Anthony’s HomePort restaurant.

He won’t be able to do it this year, however.

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission decided in December to ban commercial shrimpers in the inland marine waters south from Deception Pass and Port Townsend, including all of Puget Sound. The idea is aimed to boost sport fishing in more urban areas of the state. Spot shrimp is a prawnlike shellfish found from California to Alaska.

For Nihart, it’s a tough loss for his business and he says it’s a sad loss for his many faithful customers, who bought from him off the docks in Everett, Mukilteo and Edmonds.

Now Nihart, who lives in Anacortes, can commercially fish for spot shrimp only in the marine waters around the San Juan Islands and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the availability in the San Juans is limited.

“Fishing near Everett was how I made my living,” Nihart said. “I can’t afford to run my boat from the straits to the dock in Everett or even truck my shrimp in for the Everett Farmers Market. A lot of people I sold to are going to be disappointed. I feel bad for my customers.”

Only a small group of people actually shrimp commercially in the waters off Washington. The state licensed just 18 commercial shrimp fishermen last season and only two, including Nihart, harvested spot shrimp in Puget Sound, said department biologist Mark O’Toole.

It used to be that the Port Susan, Possession Sound and Puget Sound spot shrimp harvest was divided, 60 percent to recreational fishermen and 40 percent to commercial boats. The spot shrimp season begins in late spring. Nihart is a long-line fisherman who uses shrimp traps on his lines. Recreational shrimp fishermen use traps similar to crab pots.

Nihart sold spot shrimp at the Everett Farmers Market for the past four years and for the past six years on the dock below Anthony’s HomePort restaurant off Marine View Drive.

Joe Verdoes, president of the Puget Sound Shrimp Association, testified in September before the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, asking that commercial fishing of spot shrimp be allowed to continue in the Puget Sound region.

“This change makes it very difficult for guys like Kevin,” Verdoes said.

The state is encouraging commercial fishing in the strait because it is more of a sustainable resource there, O’Toole said.

“This is particularly hard on Kevin, and we know people in Everett, Mukilteo and Edmonds are going to miss being able to buy fresh prawns from him off the dock,” O’Toole said.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Crews recover body of man who fell over Wallace Falls

The area where the man fell is called Sky Valley Lookout, 2.4 miles from the parking lot.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

This week’s Herald Super Kid is Nathan Nicholson of Snohomish High School. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
‘The future is biotech,’ but for now he’s busy with everything

Snohomish senior Nathan Nicholson is a student leader and media master.

Most Read