SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An environmental group wants the federal government to declare that California’s crab fishing industry is dangerous to whales.

The Center for Biological Diversity says it’s petitioned the government to rank the Dungeness crab fishery in the top category of concern for marine mammals. It wants restrictions on where and how much crabbing gear is used.

The crabbing season opens Wednesday.

The center says last year at least 19 humpback whales, two blue whales and one leatherback sea turtle were found tangled up in commercial crab gear off the West Coast last year and the figure has been rising in recent years.

Last month, the center sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, alleging it had failed to prevent unlawful entanglements of whales and other marine life.

 

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