Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists and fishery managers want to decrease whale entanglements in non-commercial crabbing gear. While commercial gear is marked and there is a decrease in entanglements in commercial gear, a tragic entanglement occurred when an orca ran into sport crabbing gear. A fisherman found the orca’s body about 25 miles off Newport. It’s not clear if the entanglement was the cause of death.
Most recreational crab pots and rings are required to have marked buoys so the gear can be retrieved but this regulation does not apply to recreational crabbing from piers, jetties, or the beach where the pot is attached to shore while it is fishing. For more information go to the ODFW site. Report entangled whales or other marine animals to NOAA Fisheries or call the Entanglement Reporting Hotline 1-877-SOS-WHAL (1-877-767-9425) or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF CH-16. Photographs and videos showing entangled gear is helpful as is a general location and species if known. Check out the NOAA Fisheries entangled whale reporting brochure for more information.