Crab traps have been banned through the end of the 2022 recreational Dungeness season in California due to increased risk of whale entanglement.
The decision from California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton J. Bonham came in mid-April, after Bonham had assessed entanglement risk under the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program and in accordance with regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission for the recreational crab fishery.
The Dungeness crab fishing season ends on July 30 for Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties and for all other counties on June 30.
The trap restriction went into effect April 24 due to an unusually large numbers of humpback whales migrating back to California waters earlier than in previous years, and because of several recent humpback whale entanglements involving California commercial Dungeness drab fishing gear and gear of unknown origin.
CDFW officials said the trap restriction would help minimize risk of entanglement as humpback whales continue to return to forage in California waters during spring and summer months. Recreational harvest of Dungeness crab by other methods including hoop nets and crab snares, is unaffected by the trap restriction.