California Faces Lawsuit Over Whale Entanglements

Humpback Whale--California faces lawsuit over whale entanglements
Credits: Wikipedia

California is facing a lawsuit filed by an environmental group alleging that its commercial Dungeness crab fishery is causing the increasing whale entanglements.

On Tuesday, the Center for Biological Diversity filed its complaint against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The center alleged that the department violated Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act.

The environmental group named the department’s Director Charlton Bonham and Marine Region Manager Craig Shuman as defendants in the case. The Center alleged that both officials are responsible for causing the illegal “take” of endangered humpback whales, blue whales, and leatherback sea turtles.

In the lawsuit, the Center challenged Bonham and Shuman’s authorization of the California commercial Dungeness crab fishery.

The Center argued, “Defendants do not have an incidental take permit authorizing takes incidental to operation of the Dungeness crab fishery.” However, they allowed Dungeness crab fishermen to use traps, fishing line, buoys, and other gears that entangle endangered whales and sea turtles.