Savor Olympic Peninsula’s Washington Seafood this Seafood Month
If you find yourself on the Olympic Peninsula this Seafood Month, the Olympic Culinary Loop has you covered with destinations sure to help you experience a locavore’s table — including local shellfish and seafood.
“We encourage visitors to “eat their way around the 330-mile Loop in smaller servings,” said Lisa Martin, Olympic Culinary Loop president and co-owner of the Olympic Cellars Winery. “For example, “take a bite” out of the Southwest corner by experiencing Westport, Ocean Shores and Moclips over one long weekend, and then return north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca again for another. Or, they could taste all that the Loop has to offer during a specific season or in search of a particular taste. This is ideal for fans wanting to plan ahead to experience seasonal seafood and shellfish.”
Whether you stop at a restaurant or pick up your catch from a local market or right off the dock, you can rest assured knowing that you’re supporting local communities and sustainable seafood. WDFW has dozens of staff participating in sampling work across the Peninsula in Ilwaco, Westport, La Push, Neah Bay, Port Angeles, Seabeck, Hoodsport, and more, to keep track of commercial and recreational harvest levels.
Head north along the loop to take advantage of Olympic Peninsula northern shore’s Dungeness crab, which is generally in season along the Strait of Juan de Fuca or outer coast 10 months of the year. While Port Angeles is postponing its 3-day Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival this year, maritime traditions, agriculture, aquaculture and, of course, Dungeness crab, remain strongholds in the community.
WDFW uses extensive monitoring to ensure sustainable, ecologically resilient Dungeness crab populations. Pre-season and post-season testing includes measuring crab shell size, hardness, and other data points to help get a better understanding of the health and abundance of the Dungeness crab population. Visit our Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery web page to learn more.
Looking for shrimp? This time of year, the shrimp season starts to wind down as commercial shrimp fishers return to ports in Sequim and Port Townsend. You’re likely to find spot prawns, coonstripe shrimp, and pink shrimp in dockside and local markets in the area.
WDFW uses strict science-based oversight to support the conservation of these fisheries, which the state manages on a quota. Commercial fishers help the state keep tabs on how the fishery is doing by reporting where they fish and how much they catch in a logbook, part of their daily catch reporting requirements. WDFW also uses test fisheries for certain fisheries to assess population and geographic distribution. For certain fisheries, such as the pink shrimp trawl fishery, the state requires an DFW on-board observer for a portion of the trips to monitor catch.
Did you know? According to the Washington Department of Agriculture, Washington State is the nation’s №1 producer of shellfish aquaculture with an annual aquaculture production estimated at more than $200 million.
See for yourself at one of the loop’s destinations along Hood Canal or Willapa Bay with spots along the way to enjoy Pacific, Kumamoto, Olympia and other oysters. Or, follow along on the Washington Shellfish Trail. You can also have oysters shipped to you direct.
“Washington is home to some of the most pristine, productive tidelands on earth,” said Washington State Aquaculture Coordinator Laura Butler. “If you haven’t already, you really owe it to yourself head out, order up some fresh oysters and give them a try.”
Plan Your Trip (or Table)
Experience the Olympic Culinary Loop for herself, start planning your trip at olympicculinaryloop.com/. If you go, (point to responsible recreation information). Not able to make it to the loop right now? Find Washington seafood near you with the help of Local Catch, a network of supported fisheries and small-scale harvesters.
Visit wdfw.wa.gov/LocalWASeafood to learn more about in-season sustainable seafood and how the state and its partners are working to keep it on families’ tables, in the market, and on the menu.