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CDFW Continues Partial Recreational Crab Trap Restriction and Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Delay to Protect Whales from Entanglement and Due to Low Crab Quality

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will continue the temporary recreational crab trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5, and 6 due to the presence of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement from trap gear.

The recreational crab trap restriction for Fishing Zones 1 and 2 was lifted on Nov. 28. CDFW is reminding recreational crabbers that taking of Dungeness crab by other methods, including hoop nets and crab snares, is allowed during a temporary trap restriction.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3-6 will also remain delayed due to the high numbers of humpback whales present and the potential for entanglement with lines and traps in this fishery.

CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay in Fishing Zones 3-6. That risk assessment informed of the potential for a commercial fishery opener and modification of the recreational trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3-6 on Dec. 16.

“We appreciate the discussions with the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group regarding risk of entanglement,” said Bonham in a press release from Dec. 8. “Ultimately, we must rely on the best available science and make management decisions based on the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP) regulations. CDFW remains committed to providing fishing opportunity when risk of entanglement is low, which is consistent with our management approach since implementation of RAMP.”

In addition, Bonham has also slowed the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season due to poor crab meat quality test results for Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties (Fishing Zones 1 and 2).

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