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Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Dungeness Crab Trap Surface Gear Limitations and Gear Removal Time

(Amend Sections 132.1, 132.2, 132.3; Add Section 132.6, Title 14, CCR)

June 8, 2018

The minor amendments to sections 132.1 and 132.3 are editorial and clarify a few of the current regulations while removing dates that are no longer relevant. In Section 132.2 a change in the text will allow any vessel to retrieve traps from a Dungeness crab permitted vessel to facilitate in-season removal of trap gear when the owner becomes incapacitated or is otherwise rendered unable to retrieve his/her traps. This will expand the pool of potential vessels that could help retrieve traps left out in the ocean in-season and is necessary for the fishery to improve its ability of removing traps from the ocean that pose a whale entanglement risk and navigational hazards.

The purpose of adding Section 132.6 to Title 14, is to limit the surface lines and buoys utilized by the crab fishery to retrieve their submerged crab traps. This is necessary because whale entanglement is a serious problem that can be mitigated by setting standards that limit surface gear. Fishermen have also indicated this will reduce navigational hazards by reducing the risk of entangling line in propellers, which could cause loss of power. Specifically, the addition of trailer buoys from the main buoy of a Dungeness crab trap and the length of line attached to the trailer buoy will be limited dependent on whether a trap is in shallow or deeper water. Lastly, additional language will clarify existing law that Dungeness crab trap gear must be removed from state waters at 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the season.

Public Hearing

The Department will hold a public hearing on:

Date: July 31, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Location: State Office Justice Joseph A. Rattigan Building
Conference Room 410 (Fourth Floor)
50 D Street, Santa Rosa, California

The Conference Room is wheelchair accessible. At the public hearing, any person may present statements or arguments orally or in writing relevant to the proposed action described in the Informative Digest. The Department requests, but does not require, that the persons who make oral comments at the hearing also submit a written copy of their testimony at the hearing.

The current rulemaking file for this proposal consists of the following documents: