Dungeness Crab Fishing Season Ending Early for Most of California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced an early closure for Dungeness crab fishing across much of the state, affecting both commercial and recreational fishers. This decision, revealed in a press release provided by OCEANA, targets fisheries using vertical line gear along the central and southern coasts, extending from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line southward. Additionally, there will be a depth restriction, prohibiting fishing in waters deeper than 180 feet for northern California.

These measures will be implemented starting April 8, aiming to address concerns regarding the protection of humpback whales. Recent assessments conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife highlighted insufficient efforts to safeguard these marine mammals from entanglement risks posed by fishing activities.

While OCEANA supports the decision to close the fishery in central and southern regions, they express apprehension regarding the continued operation of the fishery in northern California. They emphasize the risk of entanglement for whales returning to feed in these areas.

Dr. Geoff Shester, Oceana’s California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist, who is also a member of the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, issued a statement acknowledging the closure’s positive impact in central and southern areas. However, he strongly urges the Department to end the season early in northern California as well, prioritizing the safety of migrating whales returning to their feeding grounds along the state’s coast.

Image/Source: KSBW

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