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Recreational Dungeness crab season opens Nov. 6 and, in response to new regulations by the Fish and Game Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife may prohibit crab traps in an effort to prevent marine life entanglement.
Fish and Wildlife director Charlton Bonham has the ability to prevent crab trap use in the beginning and end of the crab season. Such a ban could limit entanglement risks from lines and buoys for marine life like whales and sea turtles.
Bonham will review data from the department’s Risk Assessment Mitigation Program to assess the environmental impacts of crab traps for both recreational and commercial crab fishing. The first hearing will be held Nov. 1, which could impact gear policies for the season opening five days later.
Additionally, new regulations enforce crab traps to have only one central buoy at least 5 inches by 11 inches in size, and one 3-by-5-inch red marker buoy. Crabbers can also only run 10 traps at a time, and they must be serviced every nine days.
Fish and Wildlife offers more information on best practices for crabbers on its website.