2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Cards Due by April 30, 2014

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to return their cards by April 30, 2014 as required by law. Cardholders should review their cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate. Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery.

One orange spiny lobster on a sand and rock seabed

California’s spiny lobster. CDFW photo

Please Note: Any 2013-2014 Full Season Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to return their card by April 30, 2014 will be charged a non-return fee of $20 upon issuance of a Spiny Lobster Report Card in the subsequent fishing season, or they may choose to skip one fishing season to be able to purchase a lobster card the following season at no extra cost.

Past lobster report card return rates have been too low to accurately estimate catch for the fishery but the Automated License Data System (ALDS) has greatly increased CDFW’s ability to remind card purchasers of the need to return report cards. ALDS was used to mail reminder notices to all cardholders last year to return their report cards through the mail or submit their harvest data online. If you receive a reminder notice but have already submitted your card or reported online, CDFW thanks you!

The cards need to be returned even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters. Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting. Report cards also can be submitted by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

Additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program can be found on CDFW’s Ocean Sport Fishing webpage, w

ww.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/lobster.asp.

Media Contacts:
Kai Lampson, CDFW Marine Region, (805) 965-7216
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Ocean Salmon Fisheries

The Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend its upcoming annual ocean salmon information meeting. A review of last year’s ocean salmon fisheries and spawning escapement will be presented, in addition to the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa.

The public is encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April.

Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative process involving the PFMC, the California Fish and Game Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Public input will help California representatives negotiate a broad range of season alternatives during the PFMC March 8-13 meeting in Sacramento, California.

The 2014 ocean salmon information meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to establish annual sport and commercial ocean salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on the ocean salmon webpage at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/salmonpreseason.asp.

The meeting agenda and handouts will be posted online as soon as they become available.

Media Contacts:
Erick Anderson, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Chinook salmon taken by an ocean sport angler near Trinidad, CA. Photo by Mark Scatchard (CDFW).

Chinook salmon taken by an ocean sport angler near Trinidad, CA. Photo by Mark Scatchard (CDFW).

Southern California Man Charged in Commercial Fishing Violations

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement officials filed dozens of misdemeanor charges in October against a Southern California man, accusing him of violating a series of commercial fishing regulations.

Adam Crawford James, 32, of Winnetka is accused of multiple violations of the Fish and Game Code, including commercial take of lobster without a permit, commercial take of sea urchin without a permit, illegal take of nearshore fish without a permit, failure to complete and submit records of fish taken under a commercial license, the illegal take of several varieties of fish during the closed commercial season and several other serious charges.

During their investigation CDFW wildlife officers received information from the CalTIP hotline that James was attempting to sell commercially caught fish to restaurants without a Receiver’s License. In California, commercial fishermen are permitted to sell their catch directly to restaurants, provided they have a Receiver’s License and complete required documentation of the marine life that is taken.  This management tool helps to protect the resource, and ensure sustainable fisheries for years to come.

The investigation revealed that James appeared to be in violation of far more, when evidence of fishing during closed seasons, and taking species that required special permits began to surface.

“Most commercial fishermen are ethical and diligently follow the laws and regulations,” said CDFW Assistant Chief Dan Sforza. “Thanks to the information received from the CalTIP hotline and good, solid police work we were able to file charges.”

The charges were filed with the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office in Oct.

If convicted of these violations in court James could face jail time, fines, loss of his commercial fishing license, community service and other penalties. No court dates have been set.

CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters) is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide Fish and Wildlife with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters.

CalTIP was introduced in California in 1981 in order to give Californians an opportunity to help protect the state’s fish and wildlife resources. The toll free telephone number, (888) 334-2258 operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do not have to give your name.

Media Contact:
Capt. Rebecca Hartman, CDFW Law Enforcement, (310) 678-4864
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Anglers and Divers Can Now Report Harvest Results Online

Anglers and divers can now go online to more easily submit their abalone, lobster, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon report cards required by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). These report cards provide important harvest data critical to helping fishery scientists better manage these fishing programs.

Reporting requirements for anglers and divers have not changed, but this online submission option makes the reporting faster and easier. By providing harvest details more quickly, fisheries managers can more promptly put the information to use.

Standard mail reporting is still available and can be done through the address printed on the report card.

To report online, just go to CDFW’s Online License Service (www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/) page and search for your profile by entering your last name, date of birth and ID Number, which can be a driver’s license number, a GO ID or other form of identification. When the system finds an exact match, it automatically logs the user on to their profile, where he or she can purchase a license or complete a harvest report card.

Confirmation numbers will be provided to those who report online, so there will be no need to mail in the report card. Write the number on the report card and retain it for 90 days for survey purposes. Once a report card has been reported, it is no longer valid.

Please note: The law requires sport fishing report cards be submitted by January 31 even if divers and angers were unsuccessful or did not fish at all. Please refer to your report card for specific reporting requirements. For additional information on harvest reporting requirements, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting/.

Details on specific species and reporting availability online are listed below.

Requirements for online reporting
Complete data is required and must be completed within 20 minutes to avoid a system time out.

Sport fishing report cards may be reported online only after the last day of the report card’s validity. All entries on the report card must be entered onto the electronic form, including activity where no catches were made.

Reporting Availability – You may submit your information online for items below beginning on the specified date. Only the data from 2012 report cards and beyond may be submitted online.

Dec. 1, 2012
Abalone Report Card

Jan. 1, 2013
North Coast Salmon Report Card
Spiny Lobster Report Card
Steelhead Report Card
Sturgeon Fishing Report Card

Fishing harvest and effort data is essential to help scientists better manage these fisheries, which is why anglers are required by regulation to submit sport fishing report cards in a timely manner.

Contacts:
Glenn Underwood, License Program Analyst, (916) 928-6882
Carrie Wilson, Environmental Scientist, (831) 649-7191

DFG Publishes Printable and Interactive Steelhead Zone Maps to Assist Anglers

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has created and posted two different Steelhead Report and Restoration Card (SHRRC) location code maps to help anglers easily identify location code boundaries and accurately report their catch.

The newly available maps include a printable pocket guide for use in the field and an interactive, web-based, map that not only allows anglers to identify location code boundaries, but also helps them explore potential fishing areas within each location code.

Additional layers available on the interactive map can be used to help identify fishable waters, satellite images, topography, roads, and more.

A list of location code descriptions has also been posted to accompany these maps or act as stand-alone reference.

Both maps and location code descriptions can be found by visiting the SHRRC website at www.dfg.ca.gov/steelheadcard.

Steelhead are carefully monitored by DFG and have special fishing regulations. Anglers are responsible for knowing these regulations. All wild steelhead caught must be released unharmed. Wild steelhead are identified by their intact adipose fin. Hatchery steelhead are missing their adipose fin and have a scar in place of the missing fin.

Anglers must have a valid California fishing license as well as a non-transferable Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Card in their possession when fishing for steelhead.

Complete fishing regulations can be found at http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/

Media Contacts:
Farhat Bajjaliya, DFG Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8855
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

 

DFG Wardens Cite Lobster Stealing Suspect

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens cited a man for allegedly taking lobsters from others’ traps and returned the lobsters, including undersized lobsters, to the sea.

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Two wardens on a small boat patrol off Dana Point harbor Saturday night observed a small boat with no lights pulling commercial lobster traps out of the water. When the wardens approached the 12-foot boat with four men aboard and announced themselves as law enforcement, one man threw a line with a commercial lobster buoy back into the water.

After an investigation wardens cited 42-year old Yanwu Li from Rowland Heights (Los Angeles County) with four Fish and Game violations: disturbing a commercial lobster trap belonging to another person, fishing for lobster without a lobster report card in possession, possession of undersize lobster and fishing without a valid fishing license. The three other men are still suspects and may be charged at a later date.

“The California Department of Fish and Game will aggressively pursue and arrest any individuals stealing from commercial lobster traps,” said DFG Lt. Eric Kord. “Theft from these traps directly takes from the salaries of commercial fishermen, and puts the lobster fishery at further risk since many trap robbers take anything they find from the traps, including undersized lobsters.”

DFG has forwarded the citation to the Orange County District Attorney to file charges. Each count carries penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

“Commercial fishermen spend thousands of dollars on vessels, permits, trap gear, and bait to try and make a living off the lobster fishery each season,” said Rodger Healy, a commercial lobster fisherman and president of the California Lobster and Trap Fishermen’s Association. “Those stealing from lobster traps completely circumvent the lobster fishery management system and involve themselves in the illegal take of a valuable resource.”

California spiny lobsters are crustaceans that are common from Point Conception to Baja California. Lobster season generally opens the first Saturday in October through about March 15 and is carefully monitored and regulated. California spiny lobsters are slow-growing animals that biologists estimate take as long as seven years to grow to legal size. Fishermen must have a valid California fishing license with an ocean stamp, a lobster report card and a lobster gauge to measure for proper size.

North Coast Abalone Season to Open; New Closure, Regulations in Effect

Media Contacts:
Jerry Kashiwada, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191

California’s popular red abalone sport fishery season will open April 1 in most waters north of San Francisco Bay. However, new regulations effective this year will close parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park to the take of abalone until June 1, 2012. A map of the closed area can be found online at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true.

DFG photo by Patrick Foy

New Fish and Game regulations this year also mandate that every person taking abalone must maintain separate possession of their abalone prior to tagging. Abalone may not be commingled in a float tube, dive board, dive bag or any other container or device until after the abalone are properly tagged. While individual possession was a common practice in the past, it is now a legal requirement.

A complete list of abalone fishing regulations is available in the 2012 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which is available wherever fishing licenses are sold or at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2012.asp.

Abalone licenses and report cards are available through the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Automated License Data System (ALDS) which automatically enters purchases into an active database.

“Abalone report cards are a vital source of information needed to manage this resource and ALDS is a great tool which will allow us to track who has not returned their abalone card,” said DFG Environmental Scientist Jerry Kashiwada. “The cards are required to be returned to DFG by law, but in the past we could not easily determine who did not return their cards and compliance has been lower than needed for accurate catch estimates.”

Cards should be returned to DFG’s Fort Bragg office,32330 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554. The return deadline is Jan. 31, 2013 but cards can be submitted early. Abalone report cards must be returned even if no abalone were taken or no attempt was made to take abalone.

The Fish and Game Commission is currently considering adoption of marine protected areas (MPAs) proposed along the north coast region (from Alder Creek/Point Arena, Mendocino County to the Oregon border). The proposals consider discrete areas that may restrict the take of abalone, but do not close the entire region to abalone harvest, and would not affect the 2012 abalone season. To find out more about specific MPA proposals and the location of proposed MPAs under consideration, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/northcoast.asp.

Abalone cling to rocks, from wave-swept intertidal ledges to deep ocean reefs, where they feed on kelp and other algae. It can take 12 years or more for abalone on the north coast to grow to legal size for harvest and biologists have concerns about the ability of the fishery to sustain current catch rates. Similar to rockfish, abalone are a long-lived species but have generally low rates of reproduction. The last major recruitment event for red abalone occurred more than 20 years ago and recent dive surveys have recorded lower densities of abalone at eight index sites.

Currently, the only sustainable abalone fishery in California is in the northern region of the state, which has remained productive for nearly 60 years. In 2010, the last year numbers are available, the catch estimated from abalone cards and telephone surveys was 234,000. The average catch has been about 264,000 annually for the past nine years.

Steelhead Report Cards Due by Jan. 31, 2012

Media Contacts:
Farhat Bajjaliya, DFG Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8855
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds anglers that they are required to return their 2011 Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Cards between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31. Anglers are requested to review their cards carefully and complete the information as accurately as possible. Information collected from report cards provides DFG with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s steelhead fisheries.

The Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Card is a fishing report as well as a catch report. Steelhead anglers record where and when they fished, even if no fish were caught on a given trip. Anglers are encouraged to submit steelhead report card data online at www.dfg.ca.gov/steelheadcard, but report cards can still be submitted by mail. Information must be submitted regardless of whether or not the angler fished for steelhead.

Those who did not fish for steelhead in 2011 are asked to select the “did not fish” option online or write “did not fish” on the card.

Additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about the program can be found on DFG’s Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Card Program webpage, www.dfg.ca.gov/steelheadcard. Also on the webpage is “A Report to the Legislature (July 2007)” that includes an overview of steelhead biology and statewide status, projects funded with steelhead angler dollars, angling data, and monthly angling effort and monthly catch for a majority of California’s streams. Anglers may download a copy or they can request one be mailed to them when they return their Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Card.

Anglers who wish to return their Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Cards by mail should send them to:

DFG – Steelhead Fishing Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento,CA  94244-2090

Recreational Spiny Lobster Season Opens Saturday

Media Contact:
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944
Kristine Barsky, Marine Region, (805) 985-3114

Recreational Spiny Lobster Season Opens Saturday

The sport season for California’s spiny lobster opens at one minute after midnight, Saturday, Oct. 1, and continues through March 21, 2012.

A California Spiny Lobster off the Southern California Coast. DFG photo by Derek Stein

A California Spiny Lobster off the Southern California Coast. DFG photo by Derek Stein

Regulations governing the sport take of spiny lobster have helped to preserve the tradition of lobster diving and hoop netting in Southern California. The 2011-12 spiny lobster season regulations include:

• Anglers (16 years or older) must possess a valid sport fishing license, enhancement stamp and a lobster report card.
• Children who are under 16 and fishing for lobster must possess a lobster report card.
• Lobster report cards need to be filled out while you are on your fishing trip. Prior to the start of your fishing activity, the card holder must record the month, day, location and gear code on the card.
• When finished fishing or changing locations the fishermen must immediately record the number of lobster taken from that location.

A California Spiny Lobster off the Southern California Coast. DFG photo by Derek Stein

A California Spiny Lobster off the Southern California Coast. DFG photo by Derek Stein

Lobster report cards must be returned to the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) by the end of January of the following year regardless of whether you used the card or were able to catch any lobster. This information is extremely valuable for management, so please don’t forget to turn in your cards. Anglers who fill up a report card can turn in their card and purchase another.

• Spiny lobster taken must measure at least 3 1/4 inches in length, and are measured in a straight line on the mid-line of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell.
• The daily bag and possession limit is seven lobsters.
• Divers may take lobsters by hand only.
• For those catching lobster with a Type B hoop net, the upper ring or rings shall be connected to the bottom ring and supported by no more than six rigid support arms, and the assembled frame shall measure no more than 10 inches tall. This is a change in the regulations not printed in the Ocean Regulations or the supplement.
• No more than five hoop nets may be possessed by a person when taking spiny lobster or crab. No more than 10 hoop nets may be possessed aboard a vessel, regardless of how many fishermen are onboard.

DFG has fish samplers working at many launch ramps and beaches, and they’re anxious to interview anglers and measure their lobsters to collect information on this valuable fishery.

The complete set of spiny lobster regulations are contained in the 2011-12 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet, found online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations and wherever fishing licenses are sold. More information about California’s spiny lobster is available on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine.
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Abalone Season Opens April 1; New Report Cards Available through Automated License Data System

Media Contact:
Jerry Kashiwada, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

California’s popular red abalone season will open April 1 in waters north of San Francisco Bay. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds divers and rock pickers that anyone taking abalone must record their catch on an abalone report card, and tag the animal with corresponding tags from the cards.

This year, all licenses and cards will be available through the new Automated License Data System (ALDS), which automatically records purchases in an active database.
“Abalone report cards are a vital source of information needed to manage this resource, and the ALDS will allow us to track whether individuals have returned their report cards as required by law,” said DFG Associate Marine Biologist Jerry Kashiwada. “In the past, we could not easily determine who had not returned their cards.”

Abalone report cards should be returned to the DFG Fort Bragg office at 32330 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554. This season’s return deadline is January 31, 2012, although cards may be submitted early. Abalone report cards must be returned even if no abalone is taken.

Because of the nature of the paper used for the ALDS abalone report card and tags, scissors are needed to separate the tags from the card just prior to attaching them to an abalone. In the past, scissors were not needed to separate the pre-perforated tags.
Tags that are separated from the cards ahead of time are invalid. Holes may be punched in the tags immediately after purchase, however. Other slight modifications to the tagging procedure, such as using scissors to cut off tags, may be needed with the ALDS report cards.

The Fish and Game Commission is currently considering proposals for marine protected areas (MPAs) along the north coast, from Point Arena in Mendocino County to the Oregon border. The north coast MPA process will not affect the 2011 abalone season. To find out more about the MPAs currently under consideration, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/northcoast.asp.

Currently, the only open abalone fishery in California is in the northern region of the state. This fishery is biologically sustainable and has remained productive for nearly 60 years. In 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, the recreational catch in northern California was an estimated 295,000 abalone.

Everyone engaging in the take of abalone is responsible for knowing and abiding by all California abalone sport fishing regulations. A complete list of abalone fishing regulations is also available in the 2011 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet, available wherever fishing licenses are sold, at DFG offices and online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

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