There appear to be several reasons there are more Dungeness crabs in Washington and Oregon than California.
One reason is after the container ship Cosco Bushan leaked 60,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay in 2007 several years of bad harvest followed. Though crab population can vary greatly every few years, this was a particularly harsh spell.
Another is that fishermen tend to go to the crab, not the other way around. Some Californian fishermen will travel up north if the crab season is good there and many fishermen from Washington and Oregon may come to California for the fishing as well. However, in Oregon and Washington restrictions limit how many pots they can use and in California they can use as many as they wish.
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