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Indybay Feature
Sun Nov 1 2015 (Updated 11/02/15)
California Moves to Keep Whales Out of Crab Gear
State Group Calls for Changes as West Coast Whale Entanglements Reach Record High Levels
A state-convened working group is recommending a series of initial steps toward reducing whale entanglements in crab gear in California, including more monitoring and retrieval of lost fishing gear. The Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group was convened in September after the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups found that whale entanglements in 2014 and 2015 had reached historic highs.

Commercial Dungeness crab season in California opens Nov. 15, so remedies requiring legislative or regulatory changes couldn’t be implemented before this season. The new short-term recommendations focus on training commercial crabbers to respond to whale entanglements, expanding the lost-gear recovery program, improving data collection, testing gear modifications (such as breakaway lines), and developing a best-practices guide.

“It’s been heartbreaking to see so many humpback and gray whales tangled up in fishing lines along California’s coast,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney who serves on the working group. “We’re glad to see the crab industry involved with finding solutions and these recommendations are a good first step.”

Read More | See Also: New Data Shows West Coast Whale Entanglements Now at Record High Levels
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