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Crab traps pose growing threat to whales along U.S. West Coast

General July 2, 2016

A fisherman loads crab pots onto a fishing vessel at Fishermen's Wharf ahead of the commercial Dungeness crab seasonBy Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A blue whale found tangled in plastic rope off California has become a symbol for a little-known but growing hazard faced by the ocean's largest creatures along the U.S. Pacific Coast – commercial crab traps dotting the sea floor and drifting astray by the thousands. Scores of entanglements in crabbing gear, which constrict and can ultimately kill marine mammals, have been reported up and down the West Coast over the past few years, posing a new risk to whale populations that have been on the rebound. Humpback whales, an endangered species, and gray whales are the most frequent victims.

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