New Recreational Groundfish Regulations Now in Effect

Black and yellow groundfish
Black and yellow rockfish

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted several changes to the current recreational groundfish regulations that apply to ocean fishing in state waters up to three miles from shore. The new regulations were adopted by the Commission at its Feb. 11 meeting, and became effective March 10.

The open season dates and allowable fishing depths for the recreational Groundfish Management Areas are as follows:

  • Northern – Open May 15 through Oct. 31, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less
  • Mendocino – Open May 15 through Oct. 31, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less
  • San Francisco – Open April 15 through Dec. 31, in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less
  • Central – Open April 1 through Dec. 31, in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less
  • Southern – Open March 1 through Dec. 31, in 60 fathoms (360 feet) or less

Staff from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) worked closely with recreational stakeholders to develop the regulations prior to submission to and approval by the Commission. “The changes are designed to allow as much fishing opportunity as possible while remaining within allowable catch limits,” said Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s State/Federal Fisheries Program Manager. “However, as we do each year, we will be closely monitoring catches up and down the state during the open season to ensure we don’t exceed any limits.”

Other changes include:

  • An increase in the lingcod bag limit from two to three fish
  • A sub-bag limit of five black rockfish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex bag limit
  • Statewide closure of the California scorpionfish fishery from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31

Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, canary rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.

For more information about recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or check CDFW’s Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/groundfishcentral/index.asp.

Media Contacts:
Joanna Grebel, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 601-2279
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191