AP

Oregon extends crab fishing restrictions to protect whales

Aug 7, 2023, 8:39 AM

FILE - Dungeness crab wait for packing and shipping at Hallmark Fisheries in Charleston, Ore., on F...

FILE - Dungeness crab wait for packing and shipping at Hallmark Fisheries in Charleston, Ore., on Feb. 22, 2011. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted late Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, to extend, with no sunset date, measures that were originally supposed to end after this season, including limiting the number of crab traps in the water and how deep they can be placed. (Kevin Clark/The Register-Guard via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Kevin Clark/The Register-Guard via AP, File)

Oregon has extended rules restricting the state’s lucrative Dungeness crab fishery in order to protect humpback whales from becoming entangled in ropes attached to crab traps, the state’s fish and wildlife department has announced.

Humpbacks, which migrate off Oregon’s coast, and other whales can get caught in the vertical ropes connected to the heavy traps and drag them around for months, leaving the mammals injured, starved or so exhausted that they can drown. Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery is one of the backbones of the Pacific Northwest’s fishing industry, but crabbers fear that overregulation will harm the industry.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted late Friday to extend, with no sunset date, measures that were originally supposed to end after this season, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement. The measures include limiting the number of crab traps in the water and how deep they can be placed in the months when humpback whales are more likely to swim there.

Commissioners also requested that the rules be reviewed after two years.

Whale entanglements started to increase in 2014 along the West Coast but remained low and stable in Oregon.  Humpback whales, a federally-listed species with a growing population off the West coast, are the whales most frequently entangled.

The whales can get caught in the vertical ropes connected to the heavy traps and drag them around for months, leaving the mammals injured, starved or so exhausted that they can drown.

The debate in the Pacific Northwest is a microcosm of the broader struggle nationwide to address the urgent problem of whale entanglements without wiping out commercial fishermen. California and the U.S. East Coast have taken similar actions to protect whales.

In 2021-2022, Oregon crabbers landed more than 17 million pounds (7.7 million kilograms) and delivered a record $91 million in crab due to high market prices.

 

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

7 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

8 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

8 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

8 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

8 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

11 days ago

Oregon extends crab fishing restrictions to protect whales