Environment

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Closed Early

New regulations shut down the season weeks early

After a particularly hard start to the season, commercial Dungeness crab fisheries closed several weeks early on June 1. June 7 marks the start of the Lost and Abandoned Gear Program, which incentivizes retrieving and turning in leftover fishing gear.

Both the closure and the gear removal program aim to protect migrating humpback whales and other marine life from getting tangled in fishing equipment.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) after a fishing season with 71 whale entanglements in 2016. New regulations imposed after the settlement allow officials to shut down the season when the risk of whale or leatherback sea turtle entanglements is high. 

This year’s season began over a month late. Extremely low catch numbers further challenged fishermen. The new closure shortens the season by four weeks on the Central Coast and six weeks in Northern California. 

“It has been a very difficult year for many in our fishing communities, and I recognize that every day of lost fishing further impacts families and small businesses,” said CDFW Director Charlton Bonham. “I acknowledge the sacrifices and resilience of California’s fishermen and women and look forward to continuing to work with the fleet and the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group to minimize entanglement risk while maximizing opportunities.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Wayne

    June 12, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Hello , My name is Wayne Macdougall one of the inventors of a ropeless fishing gear system to eliminate whale/shark entanglement and puts a end to ghost gear and also will re-open any closures to fishing season. My system also has more benefits to the ocean you would be interested in.This system would save marine life all over the world and It would save the government millions of dollars. So many environmentalists are looking for the answers to save marine life from the horrible encounters causing so many deaths due to entanglement. We have a solution 100 % works , please contact me for more information. This is a serious threat to our oceans and we want to help!!!! please contact [email protected] Or call 19025652810

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