CALIFORNIA一 The recreational take of Dungeness crab using crab traps in Fishing Zones 3 and 4, from the Sonoma/Mendocino line near Point Arena to Lopez Point below Monterey, is temporarily restricted due to the presence of humpback whales and leatherback sea turtles.
The restriction is to limit the potential for entanglement for the two endangered species. The season was due to open statewide on Nov. 6, but after a risk assessment was completed by the CDFW and a team of scientific partners, it was decided to limit the use of crab traps in the area.
“This is the first time the recreational Dungeness crab fishery is subject to similar measures as commercial crabbers to help protect whales and sea turtles,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham in a Nov. 1 press release. “We recognize that change takes time but thank all Californians who treasure these recreational fishing opportunities. We continue to value and appreciate the work put in by the fleet and the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. This year, while the start of the recreational season may look different, the process allowed us to open some parts of the coast to recreational crab traps and all the coast to recreational crabbing with other fishing methods. This shows there is a way to partner more closely with the recreational fishery to protect California’s whales and sea turtles while still providing meaningful recreational and commercial fishing opportunities.”
Crab traps are still acceptable in Zones 1 and 2, from the Oregon border down to Point Arena and Zones 5 and 6 from Lopez Point down to the U.S./Mexico border, although those zones are open under a Fleet Advisory.
The recreational take of Dungeness crab with other methods, including hoop nets and crab snares, are still allowed in all zones.
The next risk assessment is set to take place on Nov. 22, at which time crab trap restrictions in Fishing Zones 3 and 4 and management actions in Fishing Zones 1 and 2 will be reevaluated.