The toxin isn’t likely to create a problem during the 2020-21 season, Bonham said. Wildlife agency delays Dungeness crab fishing season to limit whales, sea turtles being trapped in fishing gear ... November 7, 2020; Fresh news now 0 A new California Department of Fish and Wildlife rule adding restrictions to commercial Dungeness crab fishing could reduce the number of whales and sea turtles found entangled in fishing gear off the California coast. The season for the Northern zone, from the Sonoma County line north to the Oregon border, traditionally starts Dec. 1; a state spokesman said a decision on that fishery will be made in mid-November. “But we don’t think that the data supports the closure, especially given this COVID-19 crisis. … We’re doing all that stuff in good faith, and then stuff like this happens and we feel that faith is betrayed.”. The California opener originally set for Nov. 22 was delayed, after the Bodega Bay crabbing fleet voted to voluntarily hold back from deploying their gear until a large number of endangered humpback whales had finished feeding in their nearshore zone. North of Point Arena, crabbers must await new meat analysis, although California officials set contingency plans for a possible Dec. 31 opening. Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. The ruling affects the Central zone from the Sonoma-Mendocino county line south through Morro Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay and down to Point Conception in Santa Barbara County. GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. The continuing closure will remain in effect from Point Arena, Calif., north to the Canadian border, “through December 3, 2019 at least,” according to a joint statement issued through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The working group includes environmental group representatives, state and federal agencies, as well as local fishermen like David Toriumi. In 2018, recreational crabbers had to postpone their fishing, but the commercial season began without a hitch. It seems like this is a political decision, not one based on science.”. Many fishermen and women are facing the loss of international and restaurant markets and are looking to sell directly to consumers. "The commercial Dungeness crab season in the central management area, which was scheduled to open Sunday, Nov. 15, will be delayed due to the presence of whales within fishing grounds and the potential for entanglement. California Dungeness crab season delayed to protect whales Updated 10:37 pm EST, ... 2020, that it's pushing back the scheduled Nov. 15 start of the season … “Delays due to quality affect the entire northern commercial fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties,” according to a notice by state officials. Linda Zavoral is a Features reporter and editor who writes about restaurants, libations, travel and the arts for the Eat Drink Play and Eye/Timeout sections. Bartling emphasized that the Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to value the working group as an important part of the decision making process. Toriumi feels that anyone pivoting to dock sales would benefit from having a diverse offering of seafood, ideally including crab. Toriumi and the rest of the working group do not dispute whale presence, but state that no one is crabbing in the areas where whales have been spotted. The country's premier daily hunting, fishing & outdoor news in the USA, Canada and more. Representatives for fishing crews applauded the declaration. “The fleet has gone to great lengths to be more nimble in order to protect whales and turtles, and the results are promising.”. As essential businesses, local fisheries can continue to provide an important food source for the domestic market. “I pulled my gear out early — If we didn’t have to play this back and forth game, I would have left 100 pots out there,” he said. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS. “We’ve mitigated the issue down to practically zero,” he said. That means the recreational crab season may begin as scheduled this Saturday, Nov. 7. “Because I did that, I missed out on the money that I desperately need right now.”. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has delayed the opening of Dungeness crab season from Nov. 15, to Dec. 1, citing a risk of whale entanglements occurring. “Additional testing will be scheduled to occur by Dec. 20 to determine whether the season can open on Dec. 31 or will be delayed once more until Jan. 15, 2020.”. Toriumi agreed that the numbers don’t quite add up. California delays Dungeness opener to Dec. 1, California Dungeness crabbers protest early shutdown, California crabbing changes draw fire from both sides, Bodega Bay crabbers delay Friday opener to avoid whales, DSAR Requests / Do Not Sell My Personal Info. HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 15: Dungeness crab rest in a container as they are weighed during the opening day of commercial Dungeness crab season … With the danger of whale entanglements eased, the Dungeness crab season for central California was scheduled to open Sunday, Dec. 15. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500. He lives in West Creek, N.J. You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Her previous roles at the Mercury News include Lowell Thomas award-winning editor of the Travel section, Alameda County bureau chief and Getting Ahead editor. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. Wingstop tests chicken thighs to offset soaring U.S. wing prices She's a Bay Area native and a San Jose State University journalism graduate. Oprah’s Favorite Things: Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee, Ayesha Curry’s cookware make the list One of the most prominent efforts to assess the fishery and risk to whales is the regular meeting of the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, which was created in September 2015. “We support any decision that will allow for the best commercial crab fishing season opportunities for our fishermen,” said Ben Platt, president of the California Coast Crab Association, noting that new regulations could “shut crab fishing down for even one whale interaction with our gear.”, “It’s a prudent decision to wait two weeks to prevent that possibility from happening.”. However, the department is currently considering whether to further regulate this group when there is a heightened risk of entanglement. “We can crab efficiently and safely, it’s really, really frustrating.”, The season also had a delayed start, which is not unusual. The continuing closure will remain in effect from Point Arena, Calif., north to the Canadian border, “through December 3, 2019 at least,” according to a joint statement issued through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The risk to the whales is so minuscule right now.”, The Department of Fish and Wildlife staff analyzed the same data and came to a different conclusion.“The working group’s assessment was taken into account,” said Ryan Bartling from the department.
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