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Organization Title

Whale Entanglement Working Group

California Whale Entanglements: 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:

  • 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;
  • 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; 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.

Click here to view the Working Group’s charter.

Working Group Meeting Summaries

  • September 1, 2016: Conference Call Summary: PDF
  • July 13-14, 2016: Meeting Summary PDF

      • Updates on whale entanglement reports – comparing years 2014-2016: PDF
      • Humpback whale distribution patterns of California relative to fixed gear: PDF
  • June 23, 2016: Conference Call Summary: PDF
    • Summary of Working Group Activities since October 2015: PDF
  • October 8, 2015: Meeting Summary
  • September 21, 2015: Meeting Summary

Working Group Products

  • Best Fishing Practices Guide: PDF
  • Statement about May 25, 2016 CA Department of Fish and Wildlife letter: PDF
  • Aerial Survey Reports
    • May 2016: PDF
    • July 2016: PDF

Additional Resources

  • August 20, 2015: Public Meeting, California Whale Entanglement Discussion
  • CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Dungeness crab webpage: here
  • NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region marine mammal disentanglement webpage: here
  • 2015 Whale Entanglements off the West Coast of the United States: PDF
  • Dungeness Crab Task Force webpage: here

For additional information contact Holly Wyer at

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