West Coast crab fisherman sue 30 fossil fuel companies, citing economic losses due to climate change
The day before commercial fishermen were due to bring the first of the season’s Dungeness crab to Bay Area docks, they made other news.
On Wednesday, West Coast crab fishermen filed a lawsuit alleging that 30 fossil fuel companies are to blame for the past several years of delayed seasons and disastrous economic losses due to ocean warming. Specific complaints include strict liability, failure to warn and negligence.
“The scientific linkage between the combustion of fossil fuels and ocean warming, which leads to domoic acid impacts in our fisheries, is clear,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, which filed the suit in California State Superior Court in San Francisco on behalf of California and Oregon crab fishermen. “We know it, and it’s time to hold that industry accountable for the damage they’ve caused.”
West Coast crab fishermen have experienced significant losses during the past three years, starting in the 2015-16 season when massive algal blooms caused by warm ocean temperatures resulted in a domoic acid outbreak that caused a months-long delay. The season was partially delayed again during the 2016-17 season for the same reason.