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California regulators delay start to Dungeness crab season to protect whales

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is delaying the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season and imposing restrictions on recreational crab traps to protect migratory whales.

The commercial Dungeness crab season south of Mendocino County was scheduled to open on Nov. 15, but the season has been delayed due to the presence of large numbers of humpback whales, which can become entangled in crabbing gear.

Also, recreational Dungeness crab trapping will be temporarily prohibited between the Sonoma/Mendocino county line and Lopez Point in Monterey County when the season opens Nov. 4.

The use of other crabbing methods, like hoops, nets and crab snares, will be allowed statewide at the start of the season.

“We will continue to work with both the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries to protect whales while working to maximize fishing opportunity,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife director Charlton Bonham.

CDFW will re-evaluate the risks to whales sometime around Nov. 17 in anticipation of potentially opening the commercial crab season on Dec. 1.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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