A California team uses science to predict the risk of whale entanglements and shut down the Dungeness crab industry when necessary in “near real time.”

As the warm water Blob transformed the ecosystem in the northeast Pacific, the number of whales tangled in fishing lines along the US west coast soared from a baseline of 10 per year to 30 in 2014 and 71 in 2016. A good percentage were entangled in gear owned by California-based Dungeness crab fishers. Frustrated by the growing number of casualties, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against Charlton Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The 2017 suit pushed for clear, objective, and science-based triggers to shut down the crab fishery when whales are at risk.

Hakai Magazine | June 22, 2020

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