Tag Archives: CALFED Bay-Delta

New Sport Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes for 2013

New 2013-2014 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulation booklets are now available at California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offices and wherever sport fishing licenses are sold. Anglers and divers need to be aware of a number of new fishing regulations that are in effect this year.

Regulation changes include the following: new size and bag limits for kelp bass, sand bass and spotted bass, and new at-sea fillet size requirements for these basses and ocean whitefish. Changes also include new regulations for groundfish (including rockfish), northern California marine protected areas, and sturgeon. Regulation changes are highlighted throughout the booklet for quick reference.

Effective March 1, 2013, new size, bag, and fillet size limits are in effect for kelp bass, sand bass, and spotted sand bass. Bass must now be at least 14 inches total length or 10 inches alternate length (measured from base of foremost spine of dorsal fin to longest tip of tail), and fillets must be at least 7 ½ inches long and retain a 1 inch square patch of skin when filleted at sea. The new bag limit for these basses is five fish in combination.

New marine protected areas (MPAs) are now in effect in northern California, from the California/Oregon border to Alder Creek, near Point Arena. For more information, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa, or the MPA mobile website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/m/MPA, or a northern California CDFW office.

New sturgeon fishing regulations established a new method of measuring sturgeon and a new size limit of 40 to 60 inches fork length (not total length, as before). Barbless hooks are required when fishing for sturgeon and snares are prohibited. Fish longer than 68 inches fork length may not be removed from the water. For more information: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=58288&inline=1

New seasons, bag and size limits, and species allowed for take have been established for groundfish. For more information: http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/new-recreational-groundfish-regulations-effective-march-1/

Also effective March 1, 2013, fillets from ocean whitefish filleted at sea must now measure at least 6 ½ inches long, and the entire skin must remain intact.

For the complete set of new and updated ocean sport fishing regulations, CDFW recommends picking up a copy of the new 2013-2014 regulations booklet. Booklets are also available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2013.asp.

Media Contacts:
Mary Patyten, Marine Region, (707) 964-5026
Carrie Wilson, Communications, (831) 649-7191

DFG Surveys Salmon Anglers on Central Valley Rivers

The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Central Valley angler surveys have begun on the American, Feather, Mokelumne and Sacramento rivers. Over the next five months, survey crews will repeatedly visit 20 different sections of river to cover the full extent of the inland salmon fishery. Survey crews count the number of boats and anglers, weigh and measure each fish caught and collect the heads of those salmon imbedded with a coded wire tag.

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“The information the survey crews collect is vital to understanding the dynamics of the salmon fishery resource and for setting seasons in the future,” said Mike Brown, a DFG environmental scientist. “The collection of salmon heads imbedded with tiny coded wire tags provides a history of how each hatchery release has fared and gives us information that can help guide salmon management in future years.”

During the 2011 Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon sport fishery survey, crews contacted more than 4,000 fishing parties, measured 2,805 salmon and collected 652 salmon heads with coded wire tags in them. This and other baseline information were fed into a computer program that estimated the total effort and harvest of Chinook salmon in the 2011 Central Valley river sport fishery.

Those results showed approximately 60,500 salmon were caught and kept and 10,990 salmon were released for a total catch of 71,489. Seventy percent of the salmon kept were 2-year-olds, also known as “jacks.” Anglers fished on average about 14 hours to catch a salmon.

The 2012 salmon season is anticipated to be more productive than 2011.

Since 2007, 25 percent of salmon smolts released at each of the five Central Valley salmon hatcheries had their adipose fin clipped and a tiny coded wire tag inserted into the fleshy portion of their snout. Samplers check each salmon to see if its adopse fin, the small fleshy lobe on the fish’s back between the dorsal fin and the tail fin, is missing. If it is missing, the fish bears a coded wire tag.

During the survey, samplers carry large plastic bags for anglers to carry salmon after heads are removed. Upon request, the angler survey will provide the angler with a recognition letter containing information about their catch, including hatchery origin, age and release information.   Although anglers on occasion do not want samplers to take the head of their catch, most voluntarily comply once the reason for the collection is explained.

Section 8226 of the Fish and Game Code states, “Anglers upon request by an authorized agent of the Department, [must] immediately relinquish the head of the salmon to the State.”

The data collected by survey crews is essential for management of the highly popular salmon fishery.

Anglers can review a summary of the Central Valley Fall-Run Sports Fishery for 2011 at:

 http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=43505&inline=1

Media Contacts:
Mike Brown, DFG Environmental Scientist, (916) 227-4989
Harry Morse, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478

DFG Begins New Study to Increase Survival of Out-migrating Juvenile Salmon

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists are trying a new tactic to help California’s ocean-bound juvenile salmon, in hopes of increasing survival rates. On May 3, for the first time in state history, DFG staff used a boat to move approximately 100,000 young Chinook (called smolts) down the Sacramento River to San Francisco Bay. Upon arrival, the smolts were released in the Bay, where they will grow to adulthood before returning upriver to spawn.

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“We’ve been using trucks to transport smolts to points downstream for years, but we’ve never moved them by barge, and we’ve never moved them this far,” said DFG Environmental Scientist Colin Purdy, who supervised the boat transport to the Bay Area. “Truck releases are typically much further upstream, and though they do shorten the fish’s journey to the ocean, they still face all kinds of hazards in the river. It’s possible we could better the chances of survival for this species just by making a few thoughtful changes in our operating practices. The data we collect over the next few years will tell the story, but we’re hopeful that we’ll see positive results.”

Salmon return to their spawning grounds using their sense of smell. The process, called imprinting, begins before birth as waters flow over the eggs and continues as they grow and make their way to the ocean. Each segment of water on their journey has distinctive chemical cues which they can re-trace to their spawning grounds. Water is circulated through pumps from the Sacramento River into the boat’s holding tank, where the fish are kept. The hope is that this may improve their ability to find their way back as an adult and predators are unable to access the fish in the holding tank during the journey downstream.

This is the beginning of a multi-year study program aimed at increasing return rates of salmon from the sea to their native rivers. Over the next few years, scientists will use the data collected from the fish to test and evaluate the idea that overall survival rates and increased adult returns can be better achieved by barging the young salmon downstream.

To form a basis of comparison for this study, two other control groups of 100,000 smolts each were released by trucks in other locations at the same time as the barge release — one at a different location in the Bay, and one into the Sacramento River near Sacramento. All 300,000 fish in this study were implanted with coded wire tags smaller than a tiny piece of pencil lead, which will ultimately enable scientists to tell which of the three groups the returning fish came from — the barge release, or one of the two truck releases.

The study is being conducted by DFG fisheries biologists with the support of the Commercial Salmon Trollers Advisory Committee, which donated the use of the boat, fuel and crew time to help ensure a successful start to the study. They have committed to helping DFG for the next three years of data collection.

“This has been a major cooperative effort and we really appreciate DFG’s willingness to work with everybody and look at new ways of doing things,” said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen. “DFG is committed to decreasing straying rates among the salmon migrating up the Sacramento River. Barging may be one way to achieve this goal.”

Scientists hope to confirm that — unlike the usual method of transporting the fish by truck — the boat transport will both eliminate in-river hazards such as getting lost or being eaten by predators, and give the smolts a chance to imprint on their native stream on their way to the ocean, improving their chances of successful return.

Media Contacts:
Colin Purdy, DFG Region 2, (916) 358-2832
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

Public Comment Period for Draft Ecosystem Restoration Program Conservation Strategy Receives Second Extension

Media Contacts:
Chad Dibble, DFG Water Branch, (916) 445-1202
Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937

Public Comment Period for Draft Ecosystem Restoration Program Conservation Strategy Receives Second Extension

The public comment period for the draft conservation strategy for the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley and Delta has once again been extended due to multiple requests from the public. The draft report, entitled “Conservation Strategy for Restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Ecological Management Zone and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley Regions,” will be available for public review and comment until Sept. 30, 2011.

The document identifies biologically promising ecosystem restoration opportunities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Ecological Management Zone and the Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley regions, and provides the rationale for restoration actions specific to each of these areas. It provides the conceptual framework and process that will guide the refinement, evaluation, prioritization, implementation, monitoring and review of Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) actions.

The draft report is available on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/erp/reports_docs.asp. ERP performance measures can be found in Appendix D.

With this additional extension, comments will continue to be received by the Department of Fish and Game until 5 p.m. on Sept. 30. Comments may be emailed to cdibble@dfg.ca.gov or hand-delivered to:

Chad Dibble
Department of Fish and Game
830 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

All comments submitted by the due date will be considered as the report is finalized.

Questions about the report should be directed to Chad Dibble, Senior Environmental Scientist, at (916) 445-1202 or cdibble@dfg.ca.gov.

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Abalone Die-Off Observed in Sonoma County

Contact:
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191, CWilson@dfg.ca.gov

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has confirmed reports of dead red abalone and sea stars inside coves along the coast in Sonoma County. The number of dead and dying abalone is not known but reports have come from Bodega Bay, Russian Gulch, Fort Ross, Timber Cove and Salt Point State Park, beginning on August 27. DFG biologists and game wardens have collected abalone, mussels and water samples and are continuing to document reports from the public.

According to DFG biologists, these abalone deaths coincided with a local red tide bloom (or phytoplankton bloom) and calm ocean conditions. Although the exact reasons for the abalone deaths are not known, invertebrate die-offs have occurred in the past along the northern California coast when similar weather and bloom conditions existed.

Biologists are not attributing the deaths to Withering Syndrome (an abalone disease) since the abalone are not withered and other invertebrates have been affected. Withering Syndrome has been known to cause abalone mortality in the past in central and Southern California.

The abalone fishery remains open at this time. Abalone divers and pickers are reminded that they must adhere to all licensing requirements and bag limits, which can be found online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mapregs3.asp#abalone_open. There is a daily limit of three abalone and a yearly limit of 24 abalone, along with season restrictions and area closures as well as other regulations for recreational abalone fishing in northern California.

Abalone fishermen are advised to contact a physician immediately if they feel sick, and to report symptoms to the local county health department (www.sonoma-county.org/health/about/publichealth.asp).

The public is encouraged to report the location, number and date of dead or dying abalone to Ian Taniguchi at (562) 342-7182 or by e-mail at itaniguchi@dfg.ca.gov. The latest red tide updates from the California Department of Public Health are also posted online at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/DDWEM.aspx.

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Ecosystem Restoration Funding Comment Period is Now Open

Media Contacts:
Carol Atkins, DFG Water Branch, (916) 445-0074
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is accepting comments on recommendations for proposed projects related to the 2010-2011 CALFED Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP).

As the state implementing agency for the ERP, DFG released a Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) in December 2010 requesting proposals focused on three ERP priorities:

1)     Restoration projects that restore or enhance aquatic habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh and Bay;

2)     Research that tests hypotheses identified in the Delta Regional Ecosystem Restoration Implementation Plan (DRERIP) evaluation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s conservation measures or the National Research Council Operations Criteria and Plan Biological Opinion review, or addresses uncertainties identified with either of these activities; and

3)     Projects that (a) construct facilities to control waste discharges that contribute to  low dissolved oxygen and other water quality problems in the lower San Joaquin River and south Delta or (b) construct facilities to control drainage from abandoned mines that adversely affect water quality in the Bay-Delta.

DFG convened a selection panel on June 7 and 8, 2011 to discuss the scientific merit of the eligible proposals and their relevance to ERP priorities. The Selection Panel then made initial funding recommendations for consideration by the DFG Director. The selection panel was comprised of ERP Implementing Agency representatives including DFG, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, as well as representatives from other state and federal agencies that work closely with the ERP, including the Delta Science Program and the Interagency Ecological Program.

The selection panel recommended funding 16 projects for approximately $15.25 million.  Approximately 30 percent of the award is for on-the-ground restoration/remediation projects. The proposals will be funded from multiple bond sources including Propositions 13, 84 and 204. A list of the proposed projects is posted at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ERP/grants_2010_grants_psp.asp.

As part of the ongoing transparent review process the ERP has with awarding funds for projects, DFG staff has discussed these recommendations with the Delta Stewardship Council and Delta Conservancy and now seek comments from the general public. The Director will consider all comments when making the final funding decision.

All public comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. July 15, 2011. Electronic comments can be sent to ERPPSP@dfg.ca.gov. Mailed or hand delivered written comments may also be sent to:

Ms. Carol Atkins, Staff Environmental Scientist
California Department of Fish and Game
Water Branch
830 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Questions about the proposals should be directed to Carol Atkins at catkins@dfg.ca.gov or (916) 445-0074.

DFG Releases the 2010-2011 Proposal Solicitation Package for the CALFED Bay-Delta Ecosystem Restoration Program

Media Contacts:
Dave Zezulak, Ph. D., DFG Water Branch (916) 445-3960
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Public Contact:
Terry Roscoe, DFG Water Branch, (916) 445-0604

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has announced the public release of the Ecological Restoration Program (ERP) 2010-2011 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP). The ERP is requesting grant applications for habitat conservation, restoration and research to increase our scientific understanding of ecological processes and species responses to habitat restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh.

The grant application can be found on DFG’s Water Branch website at www.dfg.ca.gov/ERP.

Grant proposals should be sent to David S. Zezulak, Ph.D., DFG Water Branch Office, 830 S Street, Sacramento, CA, 95811, by close of business on March 1, 2011.

The ERP will be awarding up to $20 million in grant funding from Propositions 204, 13 and 84. DFG is the state implementing agency for the CALFED ERP and administers the program with its federal counterparts the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This proposal is focused on actions that will contribute to the conservation and restoration of the Delta ecosystem. Proposals should be responsive to the goals and objectives described in the ERP Stage 2 Conservation Strategy for the Delta and Suisun Marsh www.bcdc.ca.gov/laws_plans/plans/suisun_marsh.shtml and the ERP Strategic Plan www.dfg.ca.gov/ERP.

The ERP is a comprehensive, transparent, science-based approach to restoring ecological functions and listed species of the Bay-Delta and its tributary watersheds. This solicitation will support the objectives of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 and other planning initiatives including the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the Delta Stewardship Council Comprehensive Plan to restore the Delta ecosystem.

DFG will consider project applications previously submitted to the Delta Stewardship Council’s Science Program PSP for projects which would be consistent with and further the goals of this ERP PSP.