The California Ocean Protection Council has authorized a couple million dollars to give fishermen whale-safe, ropeless Dungeness crab traps, in hopes of stopping the constant delays to crab season.

It’s getting to be pretty much every year the Dungeness crab season is delayed for months from its normal mid-November start, and this year, the season did not start until January 18. Some ten years ago, the delays were because of toxic algae blooms, but in recent years, the delays are being caused because migrating whales were getting caught in the rope-based crab traps.

There may be a solution to this, that ends the delays, or at least, extends Dungeness crab fishing season. Monterey’s KSBW reports that the California Ocean Protection Council is authorizing funding so that fishermen can use new ropeless Dungeness crab traps that would not entangle whales or turtles.  

"Whale and sea turtle entanglements are an ongoing concern in California, as numbers remain high despite new measures designed to reduce harm and injury to wildlife,” the advocacy group Oceana said in a statement. “Ropeless gear allows for crab fishing without the threat of entanglement."

The new traps will be funded in a $1.85 million package to prevent whale entanglement.

This is not the first time people have proposed whale-safe crab fishing traps. It’s not clear how far a $1.85 million investment is going to go, but we’ll see if enough of these ropeless traps can be disbursed to fishing fleets to meaningfully affect next year’s Dungeness crab season.

Related: Yep, Dungeness Crab Season Has Been Delayed For the Fifth Year In a Row [SFist]

Image: A crab trap sitting on a wharf full of male Dungeness crabs in British Columbia, Canada (Getty Images)