Commercial fisherman already struggling with supply chain problems are disappointed the state of California has decided to close the Dungeness crab fishery in mid-May.
They contend the closure will hurt communities already struggling with coronavirus-related challenges.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Wednesday it understands the challenges faced by California’s commercial fishing industry during these difficult times and that closing the season on May 15 allows for more time on the water while balancing the need to protect whales and sea turtles.
California Coast Crab Association President Ben Platt told KCBS Radio the risk to whales is statistically insignificant.
"There have been no entanglements between commercial Dungeness crab gear and any whales let alone any of the whales that are listed on the endangered species act," Platt said. "There have been no interactions with our gear during this whole season."
The California Coast Crab Association said in a statement the "imagined whale crisis pales in comparison to the reality of COVID-19 which makes our crab fishery more vital now than ever."
"Now we’re back to normal water temperatures, you know 52, 50 (degrees)," Collins said. "When the water’s cold like that everything’s hunky dory out there and the whales are on top of their behavior and they don’t get tangled up."
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said it’s exploring options to assist commercial fishermen regarding federal funds earmarked for fisheries.