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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Construction crews demolish public housing  homes at the Baker Heights in Everett’s Delta Neighborhood on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Chuck Taylor / The Herald)
Baker Heights site no longer on the table for WSU expansion

As demolition proceeds, it’s unclear what the Everett Housing Authority will do with roughly 10 acres.

Rick Steves has supported a number of local projects with donations of $1 million or more.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Travel guru Rick Steves will be Edmonds parade grand marshal

The Edmonds Chamber was finally able to honor the native son now that the pandemic is keeping him home.

Detectives investigate killing of woman, 23, in Smokey Point

She had “obvious signs of trauma,” according to the sheriff’s office. A 25-year-old man was arrested.

Woman injured after shooting at south Everett 7-Eleven

She was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive. The suspects fled the scene.

Vandalism in Lake Stevens prompts city to install cameras

Park bathrooms have been the main targets. The mayor hopes surveillance and watchful citizens will be deterrents.

FILE - In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a sign at the headquarters for the Washington state Employment Security Department is shown at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's rush to get unemployment benefits to residents who lost jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak left it vulnerable to criminals who made off with hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
State’s unemployment recipients must look for work after July 4

The change comes after Washington reported the third straight weekly decline in jobless claims.

One-time payments of $1,250 proposed for some county workers

Another proposal by County Executive Somers would boost hourly pay by $4 for grocery store workers.

Shinji Maeda steps out of his plane waving American and Japanese flags after completing his round-the-world tour that took him to 18 different countries on Friday, June 11, 2021 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 22,000 miles and 18 countries, he landed in Snohomish

Partially blind Japanese native Shinji Maeda came to the U.S. to become an aviator. Then he toured the world.

Shawn Edge, left, Robert Guss, center, Robert Lee McCracken, right, try to locate on a cellphone where Shawn Edge and Charlie Cortez fell in the water on Friday, May 28, 2021 in Possession Sound, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Six months, and still no sign of Tulalip officer who drowned

Other officers and volunteers won’t stop searching for Charlie Cortez until they can bring closure for his family.

Most Read