Whale Spotting Delays Commercial Crab Season

Margie Shafer
November 20, 2019 - 11:56 am
Humpback Whale Swims In Alameda Lagoon

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The commercial crab season south of the Mendocino-Sonoma County line was expected to open this Friday. 

But environmentally minded crab fishermen from Half Moon Bay to Bodega Bay are now voluntarily postponing the opening of their season on account of the whales in the area. 

Tony Anellow, a commercial fisherman and owner of Spud Point Crab Company in Bodega Bay, says the decision follows a fly-over by the Whale Working Group.

“The fly-over determined that there was a heavy concentration, 86 whales, in the area of where most of us fish, and we wanted to not enable the possibility of entanglement,” he said. 

A whale entanglement would be detrimental to the crab fishing season under a 2017 settlement between the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity. 

“We kind of are stewards to the ocean,” Anellow said. “We’re being painted in the wrong situation, like we’re rakers of the ocean, and we’re not.”

Recreational fishermen have already seen how the crabs look and have reported back. 

“They’re looking good. They’re looking all right,” Anellow said. “They’ll be plenty of crab when we open up.”

He’s praying for rain. Storms disperse the bait the whales eat and send it off shore so he and other fishermen can get to work.