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:
- 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.
Draft Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP): Voluntary Pilot, 2017-2018 California Dungeness Crab Fishing Season
Since September 2015, the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group has been working to better understand the issue of entanglements and to identify methods to mitigate entanglement risk. In May 2017, the group identified the need for a process that could help identify circumstances that can elevate risk and develop pathways to addressing these situations. The Working Group has considered an approach that is rooted in best fishing practices and is flexible to be responsive to elevated entanglement risk. Involving a range of experts — fishermen, agencies, researchers, and others — who will work collaboratively to evaluate risk, identify information needs, and assess the need for voluntary and/or (longer-term) mandatory management options that could be recommended to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is key to the program’s success.
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 draft RAMP and the voluntary pilot of the RAMP during the 2017-2018 California Dungeness crab fishing season webpage.
Working Group Meeting Summaries & Updates
- September 27-28, 2017: Meeting Highlights
- July 18-19, 2017: Working Group Meeting Summary
- May 16-17, 2017: Working Group Meeting Summary
- Importance of Ocean-climate Conditions on Forage Species and Top-predator distribution patterns off Northern-central California, Jarrod Santora
- Co-occurrence of Large Whales and Crab Pots in Monterey Bay, Point Blue and CINMS
- Electronic Reporting Pilot Project Update
- Working Group Communications Update
- Administrative Update: Working Group Progress, March 2017
- 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
- RAMP Pilot: Preseason Risk Assessment – Key Highlights & Next Steps
- Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) Overview
- Working Group Fact Sheet
- The Working Group’s Statement of Research Priorities
- 2016 Working Group Recommendations and Next Steps (October 24, 2016)
- 2017-2018 Best Fishing Practices Guide: The Working Group has updated the Best Practices Guide for the 2017-2018 fishing season. Harbor districts and departments, fishermen’s associations and fishing community constituents have expressed support for best fishing practices. Please click here for more information.
- Request for Volunteers: 2017-18 Pilot Project: Exploring Electronic Reporting Tools to Inform Fleet Dynamics
- Statement about May 25, 2016 CA Department of Fish and Wildlife letter
- Aerial Survey Reports
- August 20, 2015: Public Meeting, California Whale Entanglement Discussion
- 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
For more information about the Working Group’s efforts and the 2017-18 RAMP pilot, including opportunities to provide feedback and share your expertise, contact the Working Group at email@example.com
Ocean Protection Council
- Paige Berube: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilitation Team: Strategic Earth Consulting