|Commercial period or cross-state commercial activity? I found out from some local crabbers about the whole issue when the dungeness fishery in OR shut down and these big crabbing boats were coming down from Oregon and competed with-- and really pushed out-- a lot of local crabbers. I was surprised that CDFW makes it easy for an out of state commercial entity to get a commercial license particularly when sustainability is a goal of theirs.[/quote]
I think there was a sensible solution for the very issue you bring up, but some knucklehead governor vetoed it:
IT'S "hasta la vista, baby!" for Northern California's crab
California's favorite Hollywood knucklehead, Gov. Schwarzenegger, crushed efforts to protect Northern California's Dungeness crab stock when he vetoed legislation limiting the number of crab traps to 250 per boat.
The bill by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would have barred large factory ships from carpeting local waters with hundreds of crab pots, a procedure that wipes out the male market crabs in a couple weeks, at which point the big boats move on. Such boats can carry 1,000 or more traps, four times more that the average crab boat handles.
The losers are smaller-scale Bay Area commercial crabbers and recreational fishermen who stick around all season, as well as local consumers, since depleting the supply of market crab early limits availability later and drives up retail prices. Last year, big out-of-state boats carpet-bombed so many crab pots so fast that some crabs were later dumped because San Francisco processors couldn't handle the glut.
Leno's bill also would have extended a state law which limits the number of boats that enter the commercial crab fishery. That law expires next April, and unless officials ram through emergency legislation soon, a wave of new boats will be on the horizon, further pressuring the resource.
Gov. Knucklehead, who rejected a similar measure last year, called the 250-pot limit an "arbitrary" restraint of trade. But 250 traps is just seven more than the average commercial boat handles, according to Zeke Grader, head of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations.
The governor turned a deaf ear to a broad coalition of restaurant owners, recreational fishermen and commercial crabbers, including delegations based in Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Sausalito, Bolinas and Bodega, with many waging spirited campaigns urging passage of the measure.
The bill was opposed by big boat interests and an out-of-state fish processor.
"Campaign contributions won out," Grader said.