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State expands restrictions for crab fishing to protect whales during migration

Extra restrictions for Dungeness Crab fishing come to the central coast.
Creative Commons, Handtrollers Beach.
Extra restrictions for Dungeness Crab fishing come to the central coast.

Extra restrictions on Dungeness Crab fishing are coming to the central coast. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife says it’s to protect whales during their migration period.

Dungeness crabs, also known as “rock crabs,” are the most abundant crab in California. That’s according to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department, or CDFW.

Fishermen typically use traps made of heavy metal and rope to capture the species. Those ropes are known to entangle whales as they migrate through California’s coastal waters.

Ryan Bartling is a Senior Environmental Scientist for CDFW. He says fishermen could face consequences if they don’t follow the new guidelines.

“There's potential for trap seizure, in addition fines and violations for those who don’t remove their traps,” Bartling said.

The central coast will be required to adhere to guidelines including, a total closure of commercial fisheries and a recreational crab trap prohibition.

However, alternative recreational methods, such as hoop nets and crab snares will be allowed.

Restrictions will go into effect next Monday at 6pm. More information is here.

KCBX intern, Yalina Harris is currently working towards earning her Journalism degree at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Yalina was previously managing editor for the Cuesta student paper. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and hanging out at the beach.
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