A settlement reached will mean the state’s commercial crabbing operations will end three months early. The Center for Biological Diversity, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations announced the deal which backers say protects whales and sea turtles from entanglement in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the state wildlife department in October 2017 after a drastic increase in the number of whale entanglements off the West Coast.
The settlement, subject to court approval, creates a comprehensive approach to the problem of whale entanglements. It expedites state regulation, ensures stakeholder input from the Dungeness crab Fishing Gear Working Group and formalizes a first-ever commitment by the state wildlife department to pursue a federal permit for protecting endangered species.