The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced late Wednesday its intention to further delay the opening of commercial Dungeness crab season in the region. The move follows consensus among local crab fishermen that the commercial season could endanger whales in the area.
CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a preliminary determination that the Nov. 22 start date that had been proposed posed a significant risk of marine life entanglement. The department now plans a further delay of the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in south of the Mendocino/Sonoma County line until Dec. 15.
The action follows aerial surveys that detected many whales off the coast of Half Moon Bay and elsewhere in the region.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported on Thursday that Bonham was following the lead of commercial fishermen's associations, including the one that operates out of Pillar Point Harbor, that thought opening the season would unduly risk entangling whales in fishing lines.
The CDFW intends further aerial surveys in advance of Dec. 15 to determine whether opening the season makes sense at that time.