Featured Image: Pacific Standard
The Dungeness crabbing industry has a strong presence in Oregon waters. However, the whales that call these waters home are struggling to live in the same environment, with many whales becoming entangled with crabbing gear over the course of the crabbing season.
As of July 16th, 12 whales have been entangled, mostly with commercial fishing and crabbing gear. In response, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has recommended several options to decrease the number of entanglement cases.
A few of the recommendations include new gear identification tags and equipment removal requirements before the end of the season. The assistant project leader of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish program says”our primary goal is to have gear in Oregon’s waters marked so we can identify which fisheries may be coming into contact with whales. Right now we’re just in a tracking process of being able to identify which gear may be coming into contact with whales and when.”
If approved, the new regulations will go into effect on January 1, 2020. The goal of the agency is to work with crabbing and fishing industries to create safer waters for the whales without harming the livelihoods of these fishermen.