(KRON) — The end of crab fishing season is now only two weeks away, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Sunday.
After crab fishing season had a late start in December last year, crab fisherman are now faced with a season cut short due to a risk to wildlife. The April 15 closure is aimed at preventing entanglement risk for humpback whales returning from off the coast.
Whale entanglements have been an issue with crab fishing in the past, with several happening within the span of a few weeks from March to April last year, according to DFW. Historical migration patterns show that there is a good chance the whales will return to the same areas this year.
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The closure applies to Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6, which stretches from the Sonoma and Mendocino County line down to the U.S. and Mexico border. Crab fishing will be prohibited after April 15, and any Dungeness crab traps left out in the water will be removed starting at 6 a.m. on April 21.
Last year, a Half Moon Bay crab fisherman faced charges after his Dungeness crab traps were found off the coast during the off season. Those who wish to avoid charges this year will have to head north of Point Arena to look for crab.