CA Fish and Wildlife: Dungeness crab season cut short

Bay Area

FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, fresh Dungeness crabs fill a tank at the Alioto-Lazio Fish Company at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. California wildlife regulators have postponed the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season to protect whales and sea turtles from becoming entangled in fishing gear. The Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, that it’s pushing back the scheduled Nov. 15 start of the season to Dec. 1. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced that fisheries will have until July 1 to complete operations for this years Dungeness crab season.

Recent survey data indicate an increase in Humpback whales returning from their winter breeding grounds to California fishing grounds.

“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 H. 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.”

CDFW’s recent management efforts under the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP), supported by the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, correlates with a drop in marine life entanglements from a high of 22 confirmed entanglements involving Humpback whales, Blue whales or Leatherback sea turtles in 2016 to zero confirmed entanglements this season.

This closure shortens the season by four weeks in the central management zone and six weeks in the northern management zone. This season, which opened on December 23, was also delayed from starting by a few weeks for similar reasons.

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