December 2, 2023

For the fifth consecutive yr, California officers are delaying the Bay Space’s business Dungeness crab season to lower the probabilities of migrating whales at the moment off the coast getting ensnarled by the crab-pot fishing strains.

The season was scheduled to start out Nov. 15 within the waters from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line south to the Mexican border.

The order got here down Friday afternoon from Charlton H. Bonham, director of the California Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“Giant aggregations of humpback whales proceed to forage between Bodega Bay and Monterey and permitting the usage of crab traps would enhance the chance of an entanglement in these fishing zones,” he stated in asserting the choice, which was made in session with the representatives of the fishing trade, environmental organizations and scientists.

“We’ll proceed to work with each the leisure and business Dungeness crab fisheries to guard whales whereas working to maximise fishing alternative.”

Though one other evaluation will happen on or round Nov. 17, a gap date in time for California residents to get pleasure from Dungeness for the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving vacation is unlikely. That evaluation might, nevertheless, result in a gap date of Dec. 1, officers stated.

The leisure Dungeness season shall be allowed to start out as scheduled on Nov. 4 – however with restrictions. Crabbers could not use lure gear, in response to the state order; solely hoop nets and crab snares shall be allowed till additional evaluation.

Oceana, a Washington, D.C.-based ocean conservation group, praised the postponement and tools limits.

Entanglement can have tragic penalties for whales swimming or feeding off the coast, stated scientist Geoff Shester, the group’s California marketing campaign director. He’s a member of the advisory California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group.

“We stay dedicated to discovering the perfect options that guarantee a wholesome crab fishery and safer passage for wildlife off our shores.”