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Whidbey crabbing season begins July 3

Shellfish season for delectable Dungeness and red rock crab begins July 3 around Whidbey Island.

Marine areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9 — all of the waters surrounding the island — open to recreational harvest Thursdays through Mondays each week through Sept. 1.

In a news release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Rich Childers, shellfish policy lead for the agency, said recent test fisheries show that Dungeness crab remain abundant throughout Puget Sound.

Crabbers may keep five male Dungeness crab in hard-shell condition measuring at least 6.25 inches caught in Puget Sound per day. Up to six red rock crab of either sex, at least 5 inches across, may be kept per day.

A general rule for determining the gender of a Dungeness crab is by its abdomen: male crabs have narrow abdomens, females wide abdomens that look like a beet.

Dungeness crab catches are to be recorded on a catch report card which is turned in annually after the season ends.

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