(a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) “California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group” means the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group established by the department, in partnership with the Ocean Protection Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service, on September 21, 2015, and as defined by its most recent charter as it may be amended from time to time.
(2) “Risk assessment and mitigation program” means the program developed by the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, as that program may be amended from time to time until the regulations are adopted pursuant to subdivision (b), to identify and assess elevated levels of entanglement risk and determine the need for management options to reduce the risk of entanglement.
(b) On or before November 1, 2020, the department, in consultation with the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group and other stakeholders, shall adopt regulations establishing criteria and protocols to evaluate and respond to the potential risk of marine life entanglement. The regulations shall include, but are not limited to, the risk assessment and mitigation program. Upon the effective date of the regulations, the director may restrict the take of Dungeness crab pursuant to the protocols and criteria.
(c)(1) Until the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (b) become effective or until November 1, 2020, whichever is sooner, if the director, in consultation with the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, determines that the California Dungeness crab fishery is being conducted in a manner that poses a significant risk of marine life entanglement, the director may restrict the take of Dungeness crab in those areas where that risk has been determined to exist, including through time or area closures, or both.
(2) The authority of the director provided pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be temporary and shall expire upon the effective date of the regulations described in subdivision (b) or upon the expiration of that authority pursuant to subdivision (e), whichever is soonest.
(3) The director shall evaluate the following factors to determine if there is a significant risk of marine life entanglement and the appropriate management response:
(A) The conditions inherent to the fishery, such as safety of life at sea, weather, vessel operations, and other related issues.
(B) The duration of any delays in the normal start of the fishery.
(C) Indications of anomalous ocean or forage conditions, or both, in the current season.
(D) The known location of marine life of concern.
(E) The known location and intensity of fishing effort.
(F) The number of confirmed marine life entanglements documented in advance of or during the current fishing season.
(G) The existence and prevalence of factors that may result in significant risk of marine life entanglement.
(H) The likelihood of exceeding the potential biological removal level of a marine life species.
(I) The socioeconomic impacts of any management response to fishery stakeholders.
(4)(A) After making a preliminary determination pursuant to paragraph (1) that a significant risk of entanglement exists, the director shall provide 48 hours' notice to the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group and other stakeholders before taking any action to close the fishery or otherwise restrict the take of Dungeness crab.
(B) The notice shall provide the information supporting the director's determination of a significant risk of entanglement as well as the anticipated management response.
(C) The director shall consider any recommendations or new information provided by the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group or any member of the public within the 48-hour notice period in advance of enacting any management measures pursuant to this subdivision.
(5) Any time or area closures, or both, implemented pursuant to this subdivision shall, while providing for adequate reduction of risk to marine life, be minimized in duration and extent.
(6) The director shall expeditiously lift any restriction in waters pursuant to this subdivision if the director determines, in consultation with the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, that the significant risk of entanglement in those waters has abated.
(7) Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code does not apply to actions taken pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) It shall be unlawful to take or possess Dungeness crab from any waters closed, or otherwise violate any restriction on take imposed, pursuant to this section.
(e) If the department has not developed the regulations pursuant to subdivision (b) by November 1, 2020, the power of the director to exercise the authority described in subdivision (c) shall become inoperative on November 1, 2020.
(f) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2024, and as of that date is repealed.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - California Code, Fish and Game Code - FGC § 8276.1 - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/fish-and-game-code/fgc-sect-8276-1.html
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