Seafood Watch downgraded the California dungeness crab fishery from its Best Choice ranking to Good Alternative as part of a larger review of West Coast dungeness crab fisheries.
“The fishery hasn’t changed negatively, rather the reassessment includes new information about bycatch in the fishery and uses the new Seafood Watch scoring criteria,” Karrie Carnes, senior manager of conservation and science communications, told Undercurrent News.
Currently, there is no scientific stock assessment for the California dungeness crab fishery, which makes it difficult to determine whether removing such large quantities of crab from the population is sustainable, she said.
There are also known gear interactions with endangered humpback whales in California, Oregon and Washington. Though these interactions are rare, their impact is unknown.
The “Good Alternative” recommendation is consistent with other crustacean fisheries which don’t have scientific stock assessments.