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State Could Ban Crab Traps as Dungeness Crab Season Approaches

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/BCN) -- Due to new regulations by the Fish and Game Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said this week it's considering a ban on crab traps, just days before recreational Dungeness crab season opens on Nov. 6.

Announced Wednesday evening, department Director Charlton Bonham has the ability to prevent crab trap use in the beginning and end of the crab season. Such a ban could limit entanglement risks from lines and buoys for marine life like whales and sea turtles.

Bonham will review data from the department's Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program to assess the environmental impacts of crab traps for both recreational and commercial crab fishing. The first hearing will be held on Nov. 1, which could impact gear policies for the season opening five days later.

Additionally, new regulations enforce crab traps to have only one central buoy at least 5 inches by 11 inches in size, and one 3-by-5-inch red market buoy. Crabbers can also only run 10 traps at a time, and they must be serviced every nine days.

Crabbers can stay up to date with CDFW's suggestions for best practices at its website.

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