MONTEREY BAY一 Recreational Dungeness crab trap fishing has opened in Zone 3. CDFW announced the opening of the zone from Sonoma/Mendocino County to Pigeon Point would open for recreational fishing on Dec. 17 and for commercial fishing on Dec. 29 at 12 a.m.
Fishing Zone 4, Pigeon Point to Lopez Point, in Monterey Bay, opened for commercial crab trap fishing under a Fleet Advisory on Dec. 10 and for commercial crab trap fishing on Dec. 16 under a fleet advisory.
The limitation of a maximum depth of 40 fathoms or 240 feet will be lifted for commercial fishing in Zone 4 on Dec. 26 at 8 a.m.
“We are pleased to announce the opening of Zone 4, allowing additional commercial and recreational crabbing opportunity,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham in a Dec. 9 press release. “Fishing Zones 1, 2, 5, and 6 are now open and fresh Dungeness crab have been arriving at local markets and onto the plates of eager crab-loving Californians. Successful crabbing for the recreational fishery is also continuing in those zones.”
There will be a continued season delay in Zone 3 until Dec. 29 to allow commercial groups to have more time to prepare and set gear in an orderly start.
Crab traps present an increased risk of entanglement for the whales that migrate through the area on their way to their winter breeding grounds.
Four risk assessments have been conducted over the last seven weeks for the CDFW’s Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP).
This is the first season the addition of entanglement risk delays has been added under the Fish and Game Code. The provision prohibits the take of crab for commercial purposes from an area that has been delayed due to the risk of marine life entanglement.
“Partner surveys, recommendations from the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group and other data informs the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program,” said Bonham in a Dec. 15 press release. “All fishing zones will soon be open, and we should all be thankful to everyone who participated in this large collaborative effort that works to use the best available science to manage an important California fishery.”
For more information and to stay up to date on the latest risk assessments, see https://wildlife.ca.gov/crab.