The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public hearing on new state regulations that will prohibit directed commercial fishing for designated forage fish species within California’s marine waters. The meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 17, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the CDFW Marine Region Office, 20 Lower Ragsdale Dr., Suite 100, Monterey (93940).
Under the authority of CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham, the new state regulations will conform to federal regulations that became effective on May 4, 2016. The federal regulations establish the list of included species, define directed commercial fishing and set vessel-based catch limits for incidental take of forage species within existing commercial fisheries.
Species affected by these regulations include round and thread herring, eulachon (also called candlefish), lanternfish, pelagic squids and some smelts. For a full description of the regulations and a complete list of all included species, please visit the Federal Register website at https://goo.gl/a7VPsh.
The federal regulations were developed for federal waters in partnership with CDFW through the Pacific Fishery Management Council process. They were designed to prohibit the formation of any new directed commercial fisheries for the designated forage species, but not affect existing federal commercial activities. Fisheries managed within state waters were considered in the development process so that conforming state regulations would not adversely affect commercial activities in state waters that also encounter these forage species. The state regulations are expected to become effective on Jan. 1, 2017.
Prohibiting new commercial fisheries for these forage species is a proactive measure to protect the food source of many important recreational and commercial species, as well as large marine predators including migratory fishes, sea birds and marine mammals.
For a full description of the draft state regulatory language, please visit the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/notices/regulations.