The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has just announced that commercial Dungeness crab fishing will officially end on Saturday, April 15, 2023. This closure is effective for all Dungeness crab fishing from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the U.S./Mexico border.
The closure is due to the increased risk of humpback whale entanglement in crab nets, as the whales return to forage off the coast of California in the coming weeks. This marks the end of a difficult season for local commercial crab fishermen. Local Dungeness crab fishermen have had to navigate a long-delayed season opening, followed by numerous storms that made fishing impossible at times.
Despite the challenges, boats like the FV Plumeria and the FV Arianna Rose have continued to sell live Dungeness crabs directly to customers most weekends.
“The fleet has done an impressive job helping CDFW manage entanglement risk in the commercial fishery and appreciates the high level of involvement to inform the risk assessment process,” commented CDFW Director Bonham. “We applaud the Working Group for their dedication and continued focus on the long-term viability of the fishery that helps ensure we protect future opportunities to bring Dungeness crab to Californians and provide protection for whales and sea turtles off our coast.”
You have less than two weeks to go enjoy this local delicacy, so make your plans now. If you’re interested in buying crab directly from fishing boats, the off-boat fish and crab sales page is an excellent resource for finding and connecting directly with fishing boats.