West Coast Dungeness crab agreement gets OK from Trump
US President Donald Trump signed a bill last week that will make permanent an agreement between the Dungeness crab fisheries of California, Oregon, and Washington, KUOW reported.
The bill, which was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and introduced by her in 2014, received unanimous support from both parties in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
The agreement creates a permanent tri-state fishery management structure for the Dungeness crab fishery. It was first passed by Congress in 1998 but expired in 2016 without a substitute. The original measure dictated that the three West Coast states would have to renew the agreement every decade, but Trump’s signing of the new bill makes the deal lasting.
“The Dungeness crab fishery is an economic pillar of our coastal communities, supporting thousands of fishing and processing jobs,” Cantwell said in a statement. “By preserving the tri-state agreement, we can sustainably manage our crab fisheries for many years.”
Washington’s economy alone brings in more than USD 60 million (EUR 50.3 million) worth of Dungeness crab every year and more than 60,000 Washingtonians are employed by the fishery.
The bill was strongly supported by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), who represents a district that depends heavily on the Dungeness crab harvest. Beutler sponsored a bill that would act as a companion to the Senate’s legislation.
“Crab populations vary greatly by year, depending on food availability and ocean conditions. The Dungeness crab catch tends to peak every 10 years, and can fluctuate by tens of millions of pounds between years. In order to manage appropriately, fishery managers must coordinate between states to ensure management and conservation goals are achieved,” Beutler said in a statement.
Experts estimate a harvest of around 100 million pounds of Dungeness crab this year along the U.S. West Coast.