CDFW News | CDFW continues to partially restrict recreational crab traps and delay commercial Dungeness crab fisheries to protect whales from entanglement and due to low crab quality

CDFW continues to partially restrict recreational crab traps and delay commercial Dungeness crab fisheries to protect whales from entanglement and due to low crab quality

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) continues to temporarily restrict crab traps in fisheries zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 due to the presence of humpback whales and the possibility of entanglement by fishing gear. However, the restriction on recreational crab traps for fisheries zones 1 and 2 will be lifted at 9am on November 28, 2022. CDFW reminds recreational crabs that catching Dungeness crab using other methods, including hoop nets and crab snares, is permitted during a temporary catch restriction.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in fisheries zones 3-6 will also be delayed due to the presence of large numbers of humpback whales in that fishery and potential entanglement with lines and traps.

CDFW expects the next risk assessment to take place on or before December 7, 2022. At that time, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham will reevaluate the temporary restriction on recreational crab traps and the delay in commercial fishing in fisheries zones 3-6. This risk assessment is expected to inform on December 16, 2022 of the potential for opening up commercial fishing and changing the restriction on recreational traps in fisheries zones 3-6.

“We appreciate discussions with the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group regarding the risk of entanglement,” said Director Bonham. “Ultimately, we must rely on the best science available and make management decisions based on the regulations of the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP). CDFW remains committed to providing fishing opportunities when the risk of entanglement is low, which is consistent with our management approach since implementing RAMP.”

In addition, under Fish and Game Code 8672.2, Director Bonham has also postponed the commercial Dungeness crab season in Northern California due to poor crab meat quality test results (PDF) for Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties (Fishership Zones 1 and 2). The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in this area has been delayed until 00:01 on Friday 16 December 2022 pending another round of meat quality testing. If results are indicative of good quality, the fishery will open and be preceded by a 64 hour gear set period beginning on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 8:01 am.

For more information on the risk assessment process, visit the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries page. For more information on the Dungeness crab fishery, visit wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

Media contacts:
Ryan Bartling, CDFW Marine Region, (415) 238-2638
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

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