Category Archives: Fisheries

CDFW Seeks Input on 2019 Recreational Pacific Halibut Season Dates

California anglers who are interested in the recreational Pacific Halibut fishery are invited to participate in an online survey. The data gathered through this survey will help inform the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) about angler preferences for open fishing dates during the upcoming 2019 season, and will be used to develop recommended season dates that will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The survey can be found online through Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

The Pacific Halibut fishery takes place off northern California. In 2018, the fishery was open May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15, and Sept. 1-21. The fishery closed Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m. due to projected attainment of the 30,940 net pound quota. The 2019 quota will be 39,000 net pounds, approximately 8,000 net pounds greater than the 2018 quota.

For more information, please visit the CDFW Pacific Halibut Fishery webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delay Extended

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham announced an additional and final 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Pending possible closures due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the season is now set to begin on Jan. 15, 2019.

Quality tests as prescribed by the Pre-Season Testing Protocol for the Tri-State Coastal Dungeness Commercial Fishery were scheduled to occur this week, but rough ocean conditions prevented vessels from safely deploying and retrieving traps. This protocol requires that tested crab achieve a meat recovery rate to ensure that crab are ready for harvest. Previous quality test results from Dungeness crab collected on Nov. 3 and Dec. 4 indicated that crab did not have enough meat. Without any passing test results from these areas, the Director continued to delay the season to Jan. 15, the final date a quality delay can be set to occur.

Delays due to quality only affect the northern commercial fishery in California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2019.  Two areas in northern California continue to be sampled for domoic acid and it is unknown whether any further delays may occur based continued domoic acid testing.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate low or poor quality, the Director may delay the fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, under authority of Fish and Game Code, section 8276.2.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in any delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon and Washington as well as in California.

Please refer to the latest Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2018-19 season that addresses questions regarding the Fair Start provision.

For more information about Dungeness crab fisheries in California, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Fishing Opportunities Abound Over the Holidays, Despite Hatchery Issues in Central and Southern California

The winter holidays are a popular time for families and individuals to enjoy recreational trout fishing, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) trout hatcheries plan to provide plenty of opportunities for anglers of all ages over the next two weeks. Specific plants of catchable trout are scheduled at 53 waters in 25 counties.

Anglers planning trout fishing outings over the winter holidays should check CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule to see the latest waters planted with trout.

CDFW stocking of hatchery trout in central and Southern California waters has been hampered by ongoing infrastructure upgrades at four of CDFW’s 13 trout hatcheries. However, CDFW has been working diligently to ensure that trout stocking will continue in these and other parts of the state.

“Our Moccasin Creek Hatchery flooded, and supersaturated well water impacted the Fillmore, Fish Springs and Mojave hatcheries,” said Dr. Mark Clifford, an environmental program manager for CDFW’s hatcheries. “Seventy-eight-year-old infrastructure and acts of nature are problematic. Our dedicated staff, including engineers, are consistently addressing issues as they arise.

“Overall, state trout production has increased incrementally since 2015 when the drought severely impacted our operations,” Dr. Clifford said. “This year was projected to be the best year in the last five. We have experienced setbacks but will continue to strive to meet our production goals.”

The spring flooding of CDFW’s Moccasin Creek Hatchery in Tuolumne County required evacuation of both staff and fish. The hatchery suffered $3.2 million in damages. Repairs are ongoing, and the hatchery is expected to come back online in the spring of 2019 and then return to full production by 2020.

Historically, Moccasin Creek Hatchery produced more than 200,000 pounds of fish per year and was a major supplier of trout for the 12 counties in CDFW’s Central Region – Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne. To mitigate the loss of trout production at the Moccasin Creek Hatchery, CDFW’s San Joaquin Hatchery in Fresno County has maximized production and is currently raising and stocking trout for waters in these counties.

To maximize angling opportunities with limited resources, Central Region fisheries biologists have prioritized stocking waters adjacent to major highway corridors such as State Routes 108/120 in Tuolumne County, State Route 168 in Fresno County and State Route 178 in Kern County. The region will also prioritize children’s fishing events.

In Southern California, the 78-year-old Fillmore Trout Hatchery in eastern Ventura County is closed for maintenance, upgrades and modernization. Prior to its closure, Fillmore Trout Hatchery fish were moved to the Mojave River Hatchery in San Bernardino County, which underwent renovations in 2017, and has been raising trout for much of Southern California.

CDFW is maximizing Mojave River Hatchery production with existing inventories along with trout brought in from other hatcheries and expects an improved Fillmore Trout Hatchery back online in coming months. Trout stocking in Southern California will be focused at urban parks, fishing derbies and Fishing in the City events.

The following list offers a county-by-county breakdown of stocking locations throughout the state that will receive winter holiday trout plants between now and Jan. 4, 2019:

Alameda County

  • Lakeshore Park Pond

Contra Costa County

  • Heather Farms Pond

Butte County

  • Desabla Reservoir

El Dorado County

  • Folsom Lake
  • Jenkinson Lake

Fresno County

  • Fresno City Woodward Park Lake
  • Kings River Below Pine Flat Dam

Inyo County

  • Diaz Lake
  • Owens River (Bishop to Big Pine)
  • Pleasant Valley Reservoir
  • Orbit Pond

Kern County

  • Ming Lake
  • Kern River (Powerhouse #3 to Riverside Park in Kernville)

Lake County

  • Blue Lake Upper

Los Angeles County

  • Reseda Park Lake
  • Kenneth Hahn Lake
  • El Dorado Park Lake
  • Castaic Lake

Madera County

  • Bass Lake

Marin County

  • Bon Tempe Lake

Mendocino County

  • Mill Creek Lake

Nevada County

  • Rollins Reservoir
  • Scotts Flat Reservoir

Orange County

  • Centennial Lake
  • Huntington Park Lake
  • Eisenhower Park Lake

Placer County

  • Halsey Forebay
  • Folsom Lake
  • Rollins Reservoir
  • Auburn Regional Park Pond

Plumas County

  • Lake Almanor

Riverside County

  • Little Lake
  • Rancho Jurupa Park Pond

Sacramento County

  • Elk Grove Park Pond
  • Hagen Park Pond
  • Folsom Lake (Granite Bay boat ramp)
  • Howe Community Park Pond
  • North Natomas Park Pond
  • Granite Park Pond
  • Rancho Seco Lake
  • Mather Lake

San Bernardino County

  • Glen Helen Park Lake
  • Prado Regional Park Lake

San Diego County

  • Cuyamaca Lake
  • Murray Lake

Shasta County

  • Baum Lake
  • Clover Creek Pond (weather and road conditions dependent)
  • Kapusta Pond (weather and road conditions dependent)

Stanislaus County

  • Woodward Reservoir

Tulare County

  • Mooney Grove Park Pond
  • Del Lago Park Lake

Ventura County

  • Rancho Simi Park Lake

Yuba County

  • Collins Lake

Media Contacts:
Dr. Mark Clifford, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 764-2526
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Oceanside

At its December 2018 meeting in Oceanside, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the meeting.

The Commission voted unanimously to extend the closure of the recreational red abalone fishery until April 1, 2021. In December 2017, the Commission closed the recreational abalone fishery season due to the declining abalone population because of starvation conditions. The commercial red abalone fishery closed in 1997.

The Commission voted unanimously to approve 15 Experimental Gear Permits to be issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for the purpose of targeting brown box crabs with the goal of authorizing new methods of using existing commercial fishing gear to research potential new fishing opportunities. The Commission also approved a list of terms and conditions to be associated with the permits. A drawing took place following Wednesday’s meeting to identify the order of the fishermen who would receive one of the approved experimental gear permits.

The Commission took action to conform state groundfish regulations with recently adopted federal regulations that largely expanded groundfish opportunity for California recreational groundfish anglers.

CDFW staff gave a presentation on living with coyotes and the Wildlife Watch program, as well as announced the release of the Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Commission Vice President Anthony Williams and Commissioner Russell Burns were present. Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Peter Silva were absent. This was Commission Vice President Anthony Williams’ last meeting. Beginning Jan. 7, 2019, he will begin serving as Legislative Secretary for incoming Governor Gavin Newsom.

The full Commission video and audio minutes, supporting information and a schedule of upcoming meetings are available at www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived video will also be available in the coming days.

The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

Crab Quality Delays 2018-19 Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Dec. 31

Based on results of another quality test, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has announced an additional 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness Crab season. The new opener date is Dec. 31. Results of the Dec. 4 quality test continue to show that Dungeness Crab are not yet ready for harvesting.

Delays due to quality only affect the northern commercial fishery in California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2018, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2018.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate low or poor quality, the Director may delay the fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, under authority of Fish and Game Code, section 8276.2.

Additional testing will be scheduled to occur by Dec. 21. If quality results remain low, a final delay announcement issued by the Director would further delay the season until Jan. 15, 2019.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in any delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon and Washington as well as in California.

The updated Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2018-19 season addresses questions regarding the Fair Start provision.

For more information about Dungeness Crab fisheries in California, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887 
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988