Dungeness Crab Season Began Late—and Now It’s Ending Early

Properly, that didn’t final lengthy. The 2022-23 Dungeness crab season, which started on the late date of Dec. 31, has already been known as off, efficient April 15.

The California Division of Fish and Wildlife has assessed that the danger of humpback whale entanglements in business fishing strains is just too nice because the endangered cetaceans migrate south, so regulators have opted to shut the crab fishery from the Sonoma-Mendocino county line south to the Mexican border. 

“Primarily based on historic migration patterns, CDFW anticipates humpback whales will start arriving within the coming weeks and has decided this motion is required to keep away from entanglements throughout the identical interval that occurred final season,” the company mentioned in a March 30 launch.

Any traps remaining after April 21 are topic to removing.

Final fall was the fourth yr in a row that the season was delayed, after a 2017 lawsuit demonstrated that one-third of humpback entanglements are traceable to crabbing. The worldwide humpback inhabitants, which had fallen as little as 5,000 within the Sixties, has rebounded to an estimated 135,000,

Past its late begin and impending early finish, this season was marked by accusations of worth fixing by large-scale crab fishers. There have additionally been years when excessive ranges of domoic acid within the crabs compelled regulators to intervene, lest the Bay Space delicacy sicken any cioppino eaters.

In a typical yr, crab season opens in mid-November and may final as late as July, though the preponderance of the full catch happens in the course of the first few months. Nonetheless, with the Pacific Ocean producing a seemingly countless parade of atmospheric rivers and file chilly temperatures—after three years of depriving California of moisture, it’s troublesome to say what “regular” might seem like.

Astrid Kane might be reached at [email protected]