California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group
Reducing the Risk of Whale Entanglements in California: Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group
A Working Group has been convened by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in partnership with California Ocean Protection Council and National Marine Fisheries Service, to address an increase in large whale entanglements in Dungeness crab fishing gear. Established in September 2015, the Working Group is comprised of commercial and recreational fishermen, environmental organization representatives, members of the disentanglement network, and state and federal agencies. The Working Group’s charge is to:
- Collaboratively inform and guide the state of California (CDFW, OPC, Fish and Game Commission, and the Legislature) in addressing key information gaps and/or measures to reduce the risks of entanglements in Dungeness crab fishing gear;
- Provide guidance and recommendations to the California Dungeness crab fishing industry, including the DCTF, about how to avoid/minimize whale entanglements and identify measures or experiments that can be developed or implemented by the fishing community to address the entanglement issue; and
- Guide whale entanglement reduction efforts by establishing priorities for the Working Group, and help inform other entities seeking to address the issue of whale entanglements in California.
Working Group Charter
2019-2020 Best Practices Guide
Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP)
The Working Group has developed a draft Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) to support the state in working collaboratively with experts (fishermen, researchers, NGOs, etc.) to identify and assess elevated levels of entanglement risk and determine the need for management options to reduce risk of entanglement.
For more information, please visit: the RAMP webpage.
For CDFW Director’s Determinations regarding the 2019-2020 commercial Dungeness crab fishing season, please visit CDFW’s Whale Safe Fisheries webpage.
Updates & Recommendations
- 2019-20 Updates & Recommendations Memo
- Working Group’s Work Plan, May-October 2019
- March 26, 2019 Working Group Statement
- 2018-2019 Recommendations Memo
- 2017-18 RAMP Pilot Lessons Learned Summary
- 2017-2018 Updates & Recommendations to Reduce Risk of Whale Entanglements – January 10, 2018
- Administrative Update: Working Group Progress, March 2017
- 2016 Working Group Recommendations and Next Steps, October 24, 2016
Working Group Meetings
Interested members of the public are invited to Working Group meetings as listeners only. There will not be opportunities for public comment. All participants will be asked to identify themselves. See below for additional details about upcoming meetings.
- Working Group Webinar, Public Session, January 8, 2020 | RAMP Risk Assessment
- Working Group Webinar, Public Session, December 4, 2019 | RAMP Risk Assessment
- Working Group Webinar, Public Session, October 31, 2019 | RAMP Risk Assessment
- Working Group Meeting, Public Session, October 15, 2019 | RAMP Risk Assessment
- 2019-20 Preseason Risk Assessment (October 18, 2019)
- Meeting Agenda
- Available Data: 2019-2020 Pre-Season Risk Assessment– Compiled for October 15, 2019, Working Group Discussion (last updated October 14, 2019)
- Working Group Webinar, September 26, 2019 – Conference Call Summary
- Meeting Agenda
- Leatherback Aerial Surveys Plots, September 2019
- CDFW Draft Integrated RAMP Straw Proposal
- Working Group feedback submitted on draft Integrated RAMP Straw Proposal
- Draft 2019-20 Risk Assessment Process Steps
- 2019-20 Management Implementation Considerations & Questions
- 2019-20 RAMP Management Recommendations Form
- Public comments
- Guidelines for Accessing UberConference
- September 4-5, 2019: Working Group Meeting Summary
- March 26, 2019: Working Group Meeting Summary
The Working Group has been meeting since September 2015. A complete archive of meeting summaries from in-person meetings and conference calls may be found here.
Working Group Products
- 2019-2020 Best Fishing Practices Guide: The Working Group has updated the Best Practices Guide for the 2019-2020 fishing season.
- Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) Overview
- Working Group Fact Sheet
- Guidelines for Research and Development Projects (February 2019)
- The Working Group’s Statement of Research Priorities
- Aerial Survey Reports
- Submitted April 12, 2019
- George Castagnola, Attorney- Dated April 12, 2019 – Provided comments related to lost fishing gear in relation to the April 15, 2019 closure
- Submitted March 2019
- George Hamlin, Commercial Fisherman- Dated March 21, 2019 – Provided comments related to strategies to reduce whale entanglements in California Dungeness crab fishing gear
- Current Working Group Advisors and Collaborators
- Presentations from New Working Group Participant’s Orientation on September 3, 2019
- CDFW Guidance for Testing Trap Fishing Gear Modifications (June 2019)
- The California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group was seeking nominations for specific representatives to serve on the Working Group. Click here for additional information. The deadline was by May 15, 2019.
- Working Group Letters of Support
- April 5, 2018: Letter of Support to Senator McGuire: SB 1309 Fishing: Fisheries Omnibus Bill of 2018
- April 6, 2018: Letter of Support to Senate Budget Subcommittee 2: Support for the Governor’s 2018-2019 Draft Budget, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Budget (3600) $500k for Whale Protection Risk Assessment and Management Program
- April 6, 2018: Letter of Support to Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3: Support for the Governor’s 2018-2019 Draft Budget, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Budget (3600) $500k for Whale Protection Risk Assessment and Management Program
- CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Dungeness crab webpage
- NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region marine mammal disentanglement webpage
- NOAA 2015 Whale Entanglements off the West Coast of the United States
- NOAA 2016 West Coast Entanglement Summary
- Dungeness Crab Task Force webpage
- Strategy for Protecting Whales and Sea Turtles & Ensuring Thriving Fisheries: Reducing the Risk of Entanglement in California Fishing Gear (OPC, 2019)
- For information on the General Fund allocation to OPC to address whale and sea turtle entanglement, please visit the General Fund webpage.
- CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries webpage
- Solar Logger Pilot Project Overview: Informing the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) of the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group
For more information about the Working Group’s efforts, including the RAMP and opportunities to provide feedback and share your expertise, contact the Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ocean Protection Council
- Paige Berube: email@example.com
Facilitation Team: Strategic Earth Consulting
OPC Grant Agreement Information Supporting the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group
OPC approved a grant to The Nature Conservancy to support the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group and implementation of its projects to reduce the risk of whale entanglement in Dungeness crab fishing gear. This may include, but will not be limited to, expansion of ongoing whale disentanglement trainings for commercial and recreational fishermen, survey flights that can efficiently record gear and fishing effort distribution, innovative uses of enhanced reporting technologies such as electronic monitoring programs to determine crab gear distribution and density, pilot projects to research a range of gear modifications, assessments of the impacts of voluntary measures taken by the fleet, and facilitation and coordination of Working Group meetings.
Timeline: February 2017 – July 2019
Project Amount: Up to $220,000
Grantee: The Nature Conservancy
Funding Source: Proposition 84
The Nature Conservancy has also contributed additional funds to support the priority tasks and facilitation of the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group.
- OPC Staff Recommendation (October 2016)