California crab fisheries to close early to protect whales
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California crab fisheries will close for the season in April when whales are feeding off the state’s coast as part of an effort to keep Dungeness crab fishery gear from killing protected whales.
The April 15 closure, three months before the crabbing season normally ends, is part of a settlement reached Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The center sued the state agency in 2017, saying it was liable for a surge in entanglement of endangered whales and sea turtles because it oversees operation of the fishery off California’s coast.
Whale entanglements on the West Coast have broken records in recent years as climate change pushes the mammals closer to shore, and fishing gear, in their search for food.
This story has been corrected to say that crab fisheries not all fisheries will close.