Anyone who has been fishing and crabbing for a while can tell you about the crab pot thief in the Puget Sound is this:
- There is not just one thief. There is a large cross section of those out there that either take your whole crab pot or just steal your crabs out of your pot and toss your pot back in.
Our family has seen it take place on many an occasion. People fly up in a fast, pleasure craft and grab the pot or the crabs and then take off before the owners can even get there. It has even happened to us more than once. Usually it will be a couple of guys in a Bayliner ski type boat that come in and pull several pots up and take off to sort out the legal crab away from the scene of the crime.
On one occasion my brother followed the thieves and called WDFW enforcement on them. When they were stopped nothing happened to them and they were let go. They had already put their name on the crab pot buoys, all the crabs in their cooler were legal size, and they has stolen the maximum legal amount of pots allowed per licensed person on the boat. Being a witness didn’t matter. Having them on camera didn’t matter. Even having the names written over the top of other people’s names didn’t matter. They were just let go.
Here is the news story that is now SUDDENLY covered by the news. Of course it is YEARS too late and is more of a “gosh people, that sucks” type story.
The news and WDFW claim that only 10% of the pots that are missing truly were at the hands of humans. They say that all other missing pots are due to currents or people not being able to locate their pot hours later. Either way losing a pot is not a pleasant thing.
Considering how sitting on top of your pots rather than leaving them and returning later ALWAYS results in more crabs, less pots missing, and fewer incidents of your pots mysteriously moving locations I believe that both the news and WDFW are in a bit of a denial state. If standing guard over your equipment is such a night and day difference, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that there is more than “currents” at work.
As always, do your own research and draw your own conclusions. After watching it happen and nothing happening to the perpetrators, I feel that at least 50% of the sketchy crab pot incidents have a human messing with your equipment.