December 2, 2023

On Friday, the California Fish and Wildlife Division ordered one other delay within the industrial Dungeness crab fishing season — the second to this point this winter.

The chance of whales changing into tangled in crab fishing gear stays excessive for many of the coastal waters from the Mendocino County line south to the Mexican border, director Charlton H. Bonham introduced. Within the far north, the place crabbing was speculated to be allowed beginning Dec. 1, there’s a second challenge: Testing in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties revealed poor crab meat high quality.

The following evaluation will happen on or round Dec. 7. The earliest that industrial crabbing may start within the far north can be Dec. 16, state officers stated.

Additionally Friday, the restrictions on leisure crabbers, who had been given the go-ahead in lots of elements of the state as long as they used hoop nets and crab snares and never traps, had been prolonged to incorporate these far north counties. That new restriction goes into impact Nov. 26.

Geoff Shester, Oceana’s California marketing campaign director and senior scientist, stated Fish & Wildlife officers are “doing the suitable factor to guard whales” because the mammals swim and feed off the coast. “We’re anticipating sturdy El Niño circumstances within the coming months, that are prone to drive humpback whales nearer to shore as they observe accessible prey — like anchovy — into shallower waters.”

That is the fifth consecutive yr of economic crabbing delays instituted to lower the probabilities of migrating whales at present off the coast getting ensnared by the crab-pot fishing strains.

Since 2015, there have been delays in all however one industrial Dungeness season within the Bay Space. A toxin, domoic acid, that might sicken anybody who eats the contaminated crab destroyed Northern California’s 2015-2016 industrial season and created delays in different years.

With delays to guard whales, the truncated 2022-23 season ran from Dec. 31 to this previous April 15.