SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — California’s governor has signed legislation meant to reduce the surging number of whales getting caught in crabbing gear.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, announced Friday that he approved the bill to pay bounties to crabbers who retrieve lost or abandoned crab pots in the off-season and make the fishermen who lost the crabbing gear pay a fee.

READ MORE: 12-Year-Old Arrested For Setting Fires In Tinder-Dry Berkeley Hills

There have been a record number of reported cases of whales getting caught by the ropes of traps set to catch Dungeness crabs. That led crabbing fishermen to join conservation groups in backing the legislation.

READ MORE: Vallejo Police Investigating Fourth Homicide Of The Year

Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity is urging federal and state authorities to do more, including considering making prime areas for whales off-limits to crab fishing.

MORE NEWS: California Drought: Healdsburg Bans Sprinklers; Sets Personal Water Use To 74 Gallons A Day

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed