Dungeness Crab Fishing Delayed Even Further in Parts of NorCal Due to Humpback Whales

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is continuing the temporary recreational crab trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 due to 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, 2022. CDFW reminds recreational crabbers that take 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 presence of high numbers of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement with lines and traps. In addition, pursuant to Fish and Game Code 8276.2, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham has also delayed the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties (Fishing Zones 1 and 2) due to poor crab meat quality test results (PDF)(opens in new tab). The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in this area is delayed until 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, pending another round of meat quality testing. If results indicate good quality, the fishery will open and be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that will begin at 8:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022.

CDFW anticipates the next risk assessment will take place on or before Dec. 22, 2022, at which time Director Bonham will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay in Fishing Zones 3-6. That risk assessment is expected to inform the potential for a commercial fishery opener and modification of the recreational trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3-6 on Dec. 31, 2022.

For more information related to the risk assessment process, please visit CDFW’s Whale Safe Fisheries page or more information on the Dungeness crab fishery, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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