Rep. Huffman Votes for Permanent, Sustainable Management of Dungeness Crab Fishery

October 07, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States House of Representatives this week passed a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) to sustainably manage the West Coast Dungeness crab industry. The West Coast Dungeness Crab Management Act (H.R. 2168), authored by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), would permanently extend a 20-year fishery management agreement between the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Under current law, state authority to regulate the fishery is set to expire on September 30, 2016. 

“Fishing is the economic heart of many small communities up and down California’s North Coast,” Huffman said. “I am grateful to the House of Representatives for passing this bipartisan bill and hope the Senate acts soon to ensure ongoing, sustainable management of the West Coast crab fishery and the economic success of these communities.”

The California Dungeness crab fishery is a strong economic driver for California’s coastal communities: California Dungeness crab landings average 16 million pounds per year and a value of $30.4 million. The fishery is regularly the most valuable or among the most valuable in the state, and reached a record of 31.7 million pounds in 2011-2012 with some $94.9 million in value. There are about 600 boats with commercial crab permits in California.

Rep. Huffman’s statement on July 23rd, 2015 in the Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans:

“In my home state of California, as well as in Oregon and Washington, our ocean ecosystem provides food and jobs through our commercial and recreational fisheries. Commercial fisheries support over 200,000 jobs in the Pacific Coast states, providing over $7.5 billion in income and over $30 billion in sales. Recreational fisheries add over 17,000 jobs generating almost $1 billion in income and over $2 billion in sales. Sustaining this incredible productivity relies on both a healthy ecosystem and sustainable management practices.

“Dungeness crab on the West Coast is one of the most valuable fisheries for the Pacific region, and a model of effective and efficient management. Since 1980, the Dungeness crab fishery has been managed by the states of California, Oregon and Washington, and the states have a proven record of sustainable management, with catches closely following the natural cyclical abundance of the stock.

"The Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee, which is overseen by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, adopts size and sex restrictions and sets season dates based on pre-season assessments. Both the commercial and recreational Dungeness crab fisheries are well managed, well monitored, and the stock is healthy. H.R. 2168 would allow the states to continue managing the Dungeness fishery without having to return to Congress every several years for permission.”