Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Senate gives final approval to crab fishing safety, resources bill

SACRAMENTO – By a vote of 27-8, the California Senate gave final approval last Wednesday to a measure by Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) to improve safety conditions and protect resources in Northern California crab fisheries.


The measure, SB 1690, sets a groundbreaking precedent in fisheries management by giving authority to commercial crab fishermen to develop solutions to problems in the industry that stem from increasing competition for crab.


“California has some of the most robust crab fisheries in the world,” Wiggins said “But looming pressures, such as declining salmon runs, are increasing competition for this valuable resource. This competition also results in unsafe conditions on the ocean and puts fishermen at risk.


“I believe the fishermen know best how to solve problems in their industry,” Wiggins added. “My bill asks them to work together to tell policymakers how to fix problems, in order to keep the fisheries safe and sustainable for future generations of fishermen and their families.”


SB 1690 sets up a Crab Task Force comprised of fishermen from California’s eight crab ports, commercial processors, sport-fishing and tour boat representatives, the state Department of Fish and Game (DFG), and sustainable fishery groups.


The task force is charged with meeting over the course of two years to develop recommendations for management policies that will improve safety and sustainability in California’s crab fisheries. The recommendations will be submitted by January, 2011 to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, DFG and the Fish and Game Commission.


Wiggins’ measure was sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund, which brought together fishermen throughout the North Coast and led a series of discussions on how to craft a fair and representative process to develop policy recommendations,


The bill is supported by a wide range of crab fishermen and others in the industry, including the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, California Fisheries and Seafood Institute and Coastal Fishboat Owners Alliance.


SB 1690 passed the Assembly on August 18 on a 55-22 bi-partisan vote. Wednesday’s approval by the Senate sends the bill to the desk of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has 30 days following the Legislature’s adjournment to sign or veto legislation.


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