American fishermen happy as crab fishery safeguard made permanent
Crab fisheries in the Pacific Northwest faced an uncertain future without the bill put forward by US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), which seeks to strengthen Washington DC’s Dungeness crab fishery.
“The Dungeness crab fishery is an economic pillar of our coastal communities, supporting thousands of fishing and processing jobs,” Senator Cantwell said. “By preserving the Tri-State Agreement, we can sustainably manage our crab fisheries for many years.”
The states of Washington, Oregon, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery in federal waters under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorised in 1998.
But the agreement expired without a replacement in 2016. The new act will make this authority permanent reintroducing stability and preserving a sustainable, science-based fishery management programme that keeps fishermen fishing and crab stocks thriving.
Washington state’s Dungeness crab industry brings $61 million into the state’s economy annually.
Crab fishermen in the state harvest an average of 9.5 million pounds of crab per year, supporting more than 60,000 maritime jobs. ■