Tag Archives: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Regulated revenue: New rules, delayed season cut into local crabbers earning potential

Local crabbers and fishermen struggle to make ends meet due to stormy weather, a delayed fishing season, and a new state mandate. On Dec. 26, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that fisheries stretching roughly from Bodega Bay to Point Conception would finally open on Dec. 31, but now under one condition, crabbers and fishers are required to limit the use of crab traps and gear they throw in the water by 50 percent. Longtime Morro Bay crabber Jeff French said the new rules set by the Department of Fish and Wildlife put crabbers and fishers at a disadvantage. “Our costs are going to be basically the same, except that now we’re expected to make a living on half of our normal gear allotment and we have to pay for tags or licenses every other year for our traps,”  >click to read< 12:12

Storm seas hampers Dungeness crab harvest for North Bay consumers

The latest hitch in the thrice-delayed crab season for the North Bay is the weather forecast, with encroaching storms making the Saturday season opener miserable if not outright hazardous for the crab fleet. “We have a collision of two masses,” meteorologist Rick Canepa said. Bodega Bay crab fisherman Dick Ogg labeled the forecast “treacherous.” The series of storms could make the “first reasonable” day to go to sea and lay crab pots to Jan. 3, Ogg said. As for heading out Saturday, “Some guys will try. It’s possible. God bless ‘em,” Ogg said. “But even if they get the crab, it may not reach the market until (January) second.” Sal Svedise, general manager of Santa Rosa Seafood, agreed. >click to read< 18:05

Crab season opens with frustration in San Mateo County – late start and half pots

Commercial crab fishing out of Half Moon Bay will open at midnight on New Year’s Eve following several delays over concerns about humpback whales in the area but a late start on top of other restrictions have cut into profits for frustrated local fishers. Local fishermen like Brittany Binkley, who fishes out of Pillar Point Harbor with her husband Adam Johnson, are worried the combination of the late start and half pots will make it difficult to turn a profit. Daniel Thoresen, who also fishes out of Pillar Point, said he is frustrated because he and his crew are not sure how much the crab will sell for and the delayed season pushed the fishermen deeper into winter. >click to read< 08:33

Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Now Open Statewide

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will open the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide on Dec. 31, 2022. Fishing Zones 3-6 (all areas south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county Line) will open under a 50 percent trap reduction on Dec. 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., with a 64-hour gear setting period beginning on Dec. 28, 2022 at 8:01 a.m. This trap reduction will help reduce risk of entanglement as humpback whales continue to migrate to winter breeding grounds. Commercial Dungeness crab vessels operating in Fishing Zones 3-6 must understand and comply with the restrictions by reviewing the CDFW Declaration. >click to read< 07:20

Local crab fishermen face challenges with late start to season

The commercial crabbing industry has been hit especially hard this year.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife delayed the season three times already because of humpback whales in the area. It’s been a long wait for local crabbers desperate for some much-needed revenue. Every crab pot is checked and readjusted as Captain Matt Juanes does some early preparation for opening day. Multiple delays mean no income since salmon season ended months ago. “We’re dying on the vine. If it’s not salmon, it’s crab. We’re hit from all sides,” said fisherman Brand Little, the captain and owner of salmon and crabbing boat the Pale Horse.  Video,>click to read< 11:58

CDFW opens commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery statewide Dec. 31, Oregon remains closed until at least Jan. 15,

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will open the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide on Dec. 31, 2022. Fishing Zones 3-6 (all areas south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county Line) will open under a 50 percent trap reduction on Dec. 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., with a 64-hour gear setting period to begin on Dec. 28, 2022 at 8:01 a.m. >click to read<

Oregon Season to remain closed until mid January – The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season remains closed until at least Jan. 15, 2023, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Round three of pre-season testing shows crabs still remain too low in meat yield on the southern and northern coasts. Elevated domoic acid is still detected in some crab viscera (guts). >click to read< 09:30

‘It’s not ‘us versus the whales’’: Delayed crab season weighs heavily on Central Coast fishermen

It was six days before Christmas and the December sun shone brightly off the placid waters of the Santa Cruz Harbor, illuminating towers of empty crab pots stacked on the edge of the docks. Inside a nearby meeting room, more than a dozen fishermen from Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey grabbed donuts and gray plastic chairs to discuss their most urgent concern: how to deal with the economic impact of a Dungeness crab season that, now more than a month behind schedule, had yet to open. >click to read< 06:47

SF fishermen say Bay Area crab season may never again start before Thanksgiving

It’s going to be harder to find local crab this Thanksgiving, and possibly for many Thanksgivings to come. For the fourth year in a row, the start of San Francisco’s Dungeness crab season has been delayed, and local fishermen say a later crab season may now have shifted for good. “I think it is the new normal,” Max Boland, the vice president of sales at Safecoast Seafoods, a wholesale fishing company on Fisherman’s Wharf, John Barnett, a commercial crab fisherman and the president of the San Francisco Boat Owners Association, agrees. Video, >click to read<16:39

Dungeness Crab Fishery Delay to Protect Whales from Entanglement and Due to Low Crab Quality

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is continuing the temporary recreational crab trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 due to presence of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement from trap gear. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3-6 will also remain delayed due to presence of high numbers of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement with lines and traps in this fishery. CDFW anticipates the next risk assessment will take place on or before Dec. 7, 2022, at which time CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay in Fishing Zones 3-6. >click to read< 07:42

Dungeness crab die-off underway along US West Coast

An important species of crab found primarily along the West Coast is fighting off a combination of stressors that experts at the North Atlantic and Atmospheric Administration say has fishermen finding piles of dead shellfish, and the impacts are affecting the economy. Dungeness crabs are typically found along water beds, and their harvest can be worth a quarter-billion dollars annually. NOAA Fisheries believes the combination of a lack of oxygen, harmful algal blooms, water temperatures and ocean acidification are playing a role in the animal’s disappearance. >click to read< 16:12

Prosecutors say Half Moon Bay crab fisherman set traps in MPA

A commercial crab fisherman is facing charges for unlawfully setting crab traps in a Marina Protected Area off the coast of Half Moon Bay, prosecutors said. The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office filed charges Monday against George Jue, who operates a fishing vessel, F/V Take Time. The District Attorney’s complaint alleges that on January 8, California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens saw five buoys located inside the Western boundary line of Montara State Marine Reserve. >click to read< 10:27

California officials delay the start of 2022 Dungeness season

The season was scheduled to start Nov. 15 in the waters from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line south to the Mexican border. The order came down Friday evening from Charlton H. Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Based on recent surveys, large aggregations of humpback whales continue to forage in California coastal waters and allowing the use of crab traps would increase the risk of an entanglement,” Bonham said in announcing the decision.  >click to read< 11:34

‘A healthy ocean means a healthy fleet’: salmon, crab, kelp, and climate the focus of annual fisheries forum

Dispatches on the state of California’s fisheries this year have brought “a mix of some glimmers of better news, while still struggling with difficult issues,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Chuck Bonham summarized at the 49th Annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum on Wednesday afternoon. The forum was moderated by State Senator Mike McGuire as part of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. In addition to a detailed report from Bonham, the afternoon featured panels on drought and salmon, the dungeness crab season, the state of California’s kelp forests, and aquaculture — as well as a brief public comment period. >click to read< 19:16

How California bureaucrats are using a typo to destroy a fisherman’s dream

Bureaucrats sometimes make mistakes. But when they refuse to acknowledge a mistake and double down on it to deprive someone of their livelihood and family business, a lawsuit can be the only way to hold them accountable. That’s what happened to Max Williams, and he’s fighting back. Max has dreamed of captaining his own fishing vessel since he was young. Fishing has been the Williams family’s way of life for decades. They have owned and operated vessels practicing sustainable fishing off the coast of California to feed their community and provide for their family. Like his grandfather and parents before him, Max wants to continue the family tradition and captain his own boat. California law requires Max to obtain a “gillnet” permit from the government before he can legally fish as a vessel operator. > click to read < 17:46

Whale entanglements, crab gear, and what can be done

Whale populations are recovering, and whales are on the move early this year. That’s led to five humpback whale entanglements in crab gear, prompting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to close the commercial Dungeness crab season two months early. With a population that is “definitely recovering” and five entanglements over a month and a half, Bartling conceded, “We’re in uncharted territory.” Three of the entanglements were confirmed with commercial California Dungeness crab gear, while the other two were “not identifiable, but the gear is consistent with what could be commercial Dungeness crab gear.” >click to read< 10:15

CDFW to close the commercial Dungeness Crab fishery in response to Humpback Whale entanglements

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham has assessed entanglement risk under the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program and announced the closure of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 1 and 2 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the Oregon state line) effective at noon on April 20, 2022. This closure is being implemented in addition to a closure of Zones 3 through 6 announced on March 25 because of three recent humpback whale entanglements involving California commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear. >click to read< 08:18

Whales entangled in fishing gear could prompt early end to Dungeness crab season

On Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that one of the entangled whales had been spotted near Moss Beach, just north of Half Moon Bay, on March 11. The other was spotted on March 19 in Monterey Bay. Both were alive at the time. “In anticipation of increasing risk due to migrating humpback and blue whales, a closure will help minimize additional entanglement risk,” read a report from the department,,, However, the Dungeness crab fishing fleet in the affected areas may already be shutting itself down preemptively, said Sonoma County fisherman Dick Ogg, who is on a working group organized by the Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess risk to whales and make recommendations on when it’s time to close the season. >click to read< 07:35

Fishermen Land $20 Million in Dungeness Crab in Crescent City, $51.1 million statewide

It’s not quite as high as the $40 million in crab the Crescent City Harbormaster reported Tuesday, but it’s a significant improvement from last year when local fishermen landed roughly $1.7 million worth of crab at Citizens Dock,,, Commercial fishermen statewide have landed $51.1 million worth of Dungeness crab as of Feb. 28, Juhasz said, though that is subject to change. Harbor Commissioner Rick Shepherd, who is also president of the Del Norte Commercial Fishermans Marketing Association, said the high price he and other fishermen are receiving for their catch is due to a high demand in crab. Shepherd said he did have concerns about crab caught in California but winds up being brought ashore in Brookings, Oregon. >click to read< 16:45

Crabs vs. Whales – Fracas over pop-up crab traps dangles Dungeness season in the balance

On multiple occasions sources for this story referenced being intimidated, scared and even worried about “getting shot” for their role in seeking a solution to California’s crab gear challenges. And it isn’t limited to one side. People take their livelihoods and their whales seriously. But amid the fear there is hope. Geoff Shester leads the parade on that front. He works with conservationist outfit Oceana as its senior scientist, and he’s very enthusiastic about how innovative new crab trap designs,, Longtime fisherman Dick Ogg,,“We’ve minimized interaction,” he says. “We’re on the right track, we’re doing the right things and those things are working really well. We’ve already solved the issue. How is this fair?” >click to read< 10:33

Approval granted for removal of grounded American Challenger

The U.S. Coast Guard’s top commander has authorized use of federal dollars from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to dismantle a 90-foot, decommissioned fishing vessel grounded on the rocks off the Marin Coast since last March. But the long-awaited consent means little until rough winter ocean conditions subside long enough to make salvage operations safe, officials said. The salvage “is approved, so it’s just a matter of time now,” said Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the California Fish and Game Department’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, which is handling communication for Unified Command. >click to read< 19:02

American Challenger: Salvage of grounded fishing vessel delayed – again.

The junked American Challenger vessel has listed more sharply in the months since it ran aground off the northern Marin coast, littering the shore with debris. And now officials have determined that the decommissioned fishing vessel is unsafe even for contract crews to board the vessel to weatherproof it for winter. “We’re on the verge of getting this thing removed from there,” Kinsey said, “and I just think as painfully slow and seemingly endless as the bureaucratic reviews have been, the good news is everyone has gotten to the place of, ‘Yeah, we’re going to get this thing out of here.’ Photo’s, video, >click to read<  Search results for American Challenger, >click to read< 15:47

California Commercial Lobsterman Convicted of Poaching in Marine Protected Area

After a series of complaints from legitimate commercial lobster harvesters operating offshore of San Pedro and Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County, CDFW launched an investigation of illegal commercial poaching activity. Using a combination of multiple contacts and inspections at sea and at the dock, home visits, analysis of marine navigation equipment seized during the investigation and various surveillance techniques, wildlife officers concluded that Rustin Craig Wilson, 37, of Lawndale, had been engaged in several commercial fishing behaviors that resulted in potential violations of commercial fishing laws and regulations. Wilson is known to wildlife officers for prior commercial lobster fishing convictions and was in the middle of a 36-month probation for those convictions by a February 13, 2020, court order. >click to read< 09:04

California: Dungeness crab season opens on time, but it’s off to slow start

Dan Schmidt has been fishing off Ten Mile Beach for the past six or seven years. The F/V Condor harvested a fraction of what it normally gets for the first pull of the season on the first day of Dungeness crab season Wednesday. With fuel and bait costs, it wasn’t very lucrative, and Schmidt said he’s shifting to black cod and lingcod, which are more cost-effective, unless the season picks up later. “I’ve talked to a lot of other guys that have fished from up here to Shelter Cove and it’s kind of the same scenario,” Schmidt said. “Apparently Crescent City and Eureka have some good volumes of crab, but down here it’s not the same.” >click to read< 16:53

Southern California Fisheries Closure Lifted – Fishing to reopen following oil spill off Huntington Beach coast

At noon Tuesday, Nov. 30, waters along a 45-mile stretch of coastline that were closed to fishing because of last month’s oil spill off Huntington Beach, will welcome anglers again, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Monday, (click to read) saying testing showed consuming seafood from the area poses no risk to the public. Terese Pearson, whose family runs Pearson’s Port in the Newport Back Bay, said Monday evening she was “elated” to hear the news that its fishing business could resume after weeks of going without the income,,, >click to read< 09:21

California officials vie to improve response after oil spill

California officials on Monday said better communication and detection technologies could improve the state’s response to an oil spill like last month’s crude pipeline leak off the Orange County coast. The hearing came six weeks after the leak in a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. that ferried crude from offshore platforms to the Southern California coast. The cause of the spill is under investigation, but federal officials have said the pipeline was likely initially damaged by a ship’s anchor. >click to read< 15:25 Of note, more than 645 square miles (1,671 square kilometers) off the coast are still off limits to fishing pending testing.

Dungeness crab season opens with extra restrictions as industry sees economic consequences

From Lopez Point in Southern Monterey County to Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, Dungeness crab catching is allowed right now using crab traps, hoop nets and snares, potentially bringing in a boost to the Central Coast economy during the holidays. But due to whale activity, take using crab traps is temporarily restricted in Fishing Zones two and three from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Lopez Point. Mike Conroy is the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association. He said historically, the opening of Dungeness crab season would mean big business for fisheries across California. >click to read< 10:02

Crab traps restricted in zones 3 and 4 because of potential entanglement

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line was scheduled to open on November 15, 2021 in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6. However, the season opener has been delayed in Fishing Zones 3 and 4 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Lopez Point) due to presence of humpback whales and leatherback sea turtles and the potential for entanglement. Fishing Zones 5 and 6 are scheduled to open November 15 under a Fleet Advisory, pending Domoic Acid testing results. >click to read< 09:47

Prohibition? Crab traps may be banned as Dungeness season approaches

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. Charlton Bonham will review data from the department’s Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program to assess the environmental impacts of crab traps for both recreational and commercial crab fishing. The first hearing will be held on Nov. 1, which could impact gear policies for the season opening five days later. >click to read< 10:18

Everything We Know About the Southern California Oil Spill Right Now

Here’s what we know so far. The Coast Guard received an initial report of an oil sheen off the coast of Newport Beach Saturday at approximately 9:10 a.m. The size of the spill was initially reported to be 13 square miles.,, Here’s where it gets a little interesting… The location of the spill, 3 miles off Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, also happens to be just south of where there were more than 82 ships anchored and awaiting to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as of Friday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. >click to read< 08:36

As Salmon and Squid Seasons Rebound, New Questions

Over the last few months, hundreds of boats have been fishing off of, or transiting along Santa Cruz County’s coastline. Industry analysts report plenty of bright spots in both the salmon and squid markets this season. But after some scientific studies were scuttled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and other research couldn’t be completed due to wildfires, fisheries management is still undergoing its own pandemic comeback, as climate change fears remain ever-present. “It’s definitely been a good season,” Scotts Valley resident Hans Haveman, the CEO of H&H Fresh Fish at the Santa Cruz Harbor says during a late-June interview. “Unfortunately, regulation from the state and feds have shut us down right when it’s goin’ good.” video, >click to read< 08:50