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Cantwell, Herrera Beutler Introduce Dungeness Crab Management Bill

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Washington, DC, May 1, 2015 | comments
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Jaime Hererra Beutler (R-WA-03) introduced a bipartisan bill this week to permanently extend a 17-year fishery management agreement that has been vital to Washington state’s Dungeness crab fishery.
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U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Jaime Hererra Beutler (R-WA-03) introduced a bipartisan bill this week to permanently extend a 17-year fishery management agreement that has been vital to Washington state’s Dungeness crab fishery.

The states of Washington, Oregon, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorized in 1996.  The states work with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, a federal and state partnership, to manage the stocks, and to conduct fishery science. The West Coast Dungeness Crab Management Act would make that existing authority permanent. Currently, it is set to expire in 2016.

Cantwell introduced legislation in the Senate while Herrera Beutler’s bill was introduced in the House of Representatives.

“The Dungeness crab fishery is critical to coastal economies in Washington state, supporting hundreds of fishing and processing jobs,” Cantwell said. “This legislation preserves an effective, science-based, management partnership between states, federal fishery managers and fishermen to sustainably manage our crab fishery.”

“Fishermen from Washington, Oregon and California are responsibly working together to keep the Dungeness crab fishery healthy and sustainable for future generations,” Herrera Beutler said. “They shouldn't have to travel to Washington D.C. every few years to plead for the extension of a proven plan that has proven to work for our local economy and the Dungeness fishery. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan solution with Senator Cantwell and give more certainty to Washington’s crab fishermen and the jobs they support.”

The West Coast Dungeness crab industry supports hundreds of jobs in Washington state and across the West Coast. Dungeness crab is key part of Washington state’s seafood industry, which supports 60,955 jobs. Washington state commercial fishing, processing and recreational fishing businesses provide $1.1 billion a year in wages with an estimated gross business revenues valued at $8.6 billion. Washington’s crab fishermen harvest an average of 9.5 million pounds of crab per year. There are 228 coastal commercial Dungeness crab license holders in Washington state. Across the West Coast, fishermen landed more than $87.4 million pounds of crab valued at $252 million dollars in 2013.

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