Cutthroat Crab Race to Become More Civilized

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Every year, crab fishermen whip themselves into a frenzy throughout the season. And every year, by the nature of the business, they deplete the crab population, edging out smaller competitors and altering the ecology of the bay.

    That may change this year with a proposed bill, SB369, that would limit overfishing.

    The bill has the support of a variety of fishing industry groups and environmental organizations, making for unlikely bedfellows, according to the Chron.

    In part, the crabs are bearing the brunt of ecological problems elsewhere around the bay. Salmon levels have fluctuated wildly in recent years, leading some fishermen to concentrate on somewhat steadier crab. But soon those animals might become unpredictable as well.

    Large fishing organizations choke the water with their crab pots. Currently, there's no limit on how many you can put in the water. The bill would set a limit of 500, which is half what some major out-of-town organizations deploy, according to the Press Democrat.

    Similar measures were vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger in past years, but Jerry Brown has not taken a position yet.