By Matt Charnock.
The current Dungeness crab season was delayed by weeks last year to protect migrating gray, humpback, and blue whales; it will now end prematurely in mid-May for the same reason, as well.
Commercial fishing remains the most prevalent means of culling for cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises), albeit unintentional. As SFist reported prior, dozens of whales are accidentally killed each year during the state’s crabbing seasons as a result of becoming entangled and later drowning in large-scale fishing nets, like the ones used to collect Dungeness crab. But in an attempt to safeguard whales, humpbacks especially — which appear to be adopting new migrating routes — the Californian Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced it will end the current Dungeness crab season on May 15 as a precautionary measure.
According to Eater SF, Dungeness crabbing season on the Northern and Central Coasts is slated to end earlier than anticipated, announced by CDFW Director Charlton Bonham this week. Back in late-2o19, the Chronicle reported then-recent aerial surveys off the California coastline revealed active populations of cetaceans, including blue and humpback whales and other marine life, which led to the CDFW to delay this year’s commercial Dungeness crab season to November 22; it later extended that pause to December 15.
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