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Bainbridge Island police have eye out for crab poachers

Bainbridge Island police are on the hunt for rogue anglers who are getting a little crabby.

Crab pots have been sinking into place around the island since the crabbing season began July 1.

For the 2012 season, however, no crabbing is allowed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"If you have your gear out there in the water, technically you are still crabbing on the off-days," said Lieutenant Bob Day of the Bainbridge Island Police Department.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, island police responded to sightings of crab pots near Blakely Harbor, Crystal Springs, Restoration Point and Rockaway Beach Road. One by one the pots were brought in, and their bounty released back into the Puget Sound.

Even if pots are neglected, if they are in the water they are considered actively fishing.

"If the pot is in and it's baited, it's trying to catch crab," Day said.

The owners of the found pots were all contacted and received citations for unlawful recreational fishing/crabbing.

There is no fine associated with citations for crabbing during off-days, but a court appearance for the offense is mandatory.

Bainbridge police will continue to check on crab pots around the island during the crabbing season, which runs through September.

Day hopes that crabbers follow the rules over the summer, which he said are simple.

"(The rules are) basically one page," Day said. "Don't crab on the off-days."

"As much as I like going out on the the boat, I don't like hauling in people's gear and mailing them citations," Day said.

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