Category Archives: Fisheries

Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Continues to be Extended Northward to near the Mendocino/ Humboldt County Line

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it will be extending the area open to commercial rock crab fishing from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line to near the Mendocino/Humboldt County line at 40° 00.00 ‘ N. Lat. This will open all commercial rock crab fishing from 40° 00.00 ‘ N. Lat. south to the California/Mexico border.

On Nov. 8, 2016, upon the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted to the Office of Administrative Law an emergency rulemaking to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County. Since that time, new authority established in the Fish and Game Code, section 5523, allowed the Director to open portions of the fishery upon the recommendation from the Director of OEHHA. The fishery was last modified in March 2018, when it was opened between Salt Point, Sonoma County and the Sonoma/Mendocino County line. State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught north of the Mendocino/Humboldt County line to the California/Oregon border.

Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of 40° 00.00 ‘ N. Lat. near the Mendocino/Humboldt County line to the California/Oregon border shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the Director of CDPH, determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be opened. CDFW will continue to coordinate with fishermen, CDPH, and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and can in some cases be fatal.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (4/20/2018)

CDFW Declaration (4/20/2018)

www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Plentiful Fishing for Crappie Proves Tempting for Poachers

Wildlife Officers Keeping a Close Eye Out for Overlimits

Law enforcement officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have made several recent gross overlimit cases on crappie anglers in the San Joaquin Valley, prompting increased patrols for anglers targeting those fish. Crappie is a sport fish common throughout California and most of North America. The bag limit for crappie is 25 fish per day.

In one case, a wildlife officer contacted three anglers in Madera County in the early morning hours of April 12 as they pulled their boat from a local lake. They were in combined possession of 404 crappie. Subtracting out a legal limit of 25 fish each, they were in possession of a combined overlimit of 329 crappie. The three subjects are charged with a gross overlimit of crappie, possession of more than three times the bag limit and failure to show catch upon the demand of a wildlife officer. If convicted, they each face a possible jail term, fines that will potentially range between $5,000 and $40,000, forfeiture of seized fishing equipment and suspension of their fishing privileges,

In total, wildlife officers issued a total of 10 crappie overlimit citations in the last week for 636 crappie in excess of the bag limit.

“We are pleased to see excellent conditions for crappie fishing right now and many honest anglers are catching a limit,” said CDFW Assistant Chief John Baker, who oversees the Central Enforcement District out of Fresno. “These gross overlimit cases are a prime example of poachers taking advantage of good conditions and depleting our state’s limited resources. This behavior should outrage the honest anglers who abide by the law.”

Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Danny Stevenson, CDFW Law Enforcement, (559) 967-4511
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Recreational Salmon Seasons Set for 2018

The recreational salmon seasons have been set for 2018, and it appears to be a mixture of good news and bad for California anglers. Klamath River fall run Chinook are likely to be one of the better fishing opportunities due to higher returns that will support both ocean and inland salmon seasons. But returns for Sacramento River fall run Chinook – the main stock of salmon supporting California’s ocean and Central Valley river fisheries – have been low for the third consecutive year, pushing them into “overfished” status.

In order to meet conservation goals for Sacramento River fall run Chinook, some ocean salmon seasons have been shortened and the daily bag and possession limits for Central Valley river fisheries have been reduced.

“The goal is to get even more fish back to the spawning grounds this fall than would be required in a normal year,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer.

In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council constructed conservative ocean salmon seasons for 2018, in the hopes of producing higher numbers of returning spawners. The California Fish and Game Commission set similar ocean seasons.

The 2018 recreational ocean salmon season for the California coast is as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open June 1 and continue through Sept. 3.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, will open June 17 and continue through Oct. 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 7 and will continue through July 2.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Pigeon Point and 24 inches in all areas south of Pigeon Point. The daily bag limit is two Chinook salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of coho salmon (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

The 2018 recreational inland salmon season for California inland waters is as follows:

  • Seasons for Central Valley fishery start on traditional dates on all sections of all rivers. Only one salmon per day may be retained and the possession limit is two salmon.
  • In the Klamath River the season will open Aug. 15 and continue through Dec. 31. The Trinity River season will be open from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The daily bag limit is two salmon no more than one over 22 inches. The possession limit is six salmon, no more than three over 22 inches.

Regulations approved by the Commission since the 2017 season created a positive effect for the upcoming Central Valley salmon season. The new regulations – including a complete closure of Nimbus Basin on the American River to all fishing due to construction, a reduction in the daily bag and possession limit for the Central Valley, and a shortened leader length regulation intended to reduce snagging – were pivotal in setting seasons on the Sacramento River fall Chinook because they helped reduced potential harvest to meet stock rebuilding goals.

The 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits will be published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

Media Contacts:
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2879
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777

Recreational Canary Rockfish Bag Limit Increases Effective April 14

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces a statewide increase to the recreational canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) daily limit within the Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) bag limit. The sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two fish within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began last year as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, a one fish daily sub-bag limit was implemented as a matter of precaution. Catches were monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits were not exceeded.

“We saw great fishing in 2017 and higher than expected effort for rockfish,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Joanna Grebel. “Despite this, catches of canary rockfish under a one fish bag limit were less than predicted. We are excited to be able to offer additional opportunity in 2018.”

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits.

CDFW encourages anglers to avoid known yelloweye rockfish hotspots when pursuing canary rockfish. Yelloweye rockfish cannot be retained and stringent annual limits on yelloweye rockfish bycatch mortality remain in effect for California’s recreational groundfish fishery in 2018. Bycatch mortality of yelloweye rockfish is monitored during the fishing season and modifications to regulations could be made if mortality amounts reach annual limits.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status information, fish identification tools and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

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

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

Public Comment Sought on Statewide Management of Trout

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be soliciting public comment and ideas on the statewide management of trout at a series of public meetings.

“We are seeking stakeholder feedback on the development of three important elements of our statewide trout management efforts,” said Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program Manager. “Our overall goal is make positive programmatic changes that will help ensure we’re getting the right fish in the right place at the right time.”

The three key areas for which CDFW are seeking input are:

  • The revision of CDFW’s Strategic Plan for Trout Management, last published in 2003
  • The creation of a new Strategic Plan for Trout Hatcheries
  • Simplification of inland trout angling regulations

Each meeting will include a brief presentation covering each area. CDFW personnel will be available at information stations to answer questions and listen to stakeholder interests, needs and ideas.

All stakeholder input will be taken into consideration as draft plans and a regulation simplification package are developed for formal public review. Stakeholders can fill out a short questionnaire online or at any of the following meetings:

Bishop
Place: Talman Pavilion, Tricounty Fairgrounds
Location: 1234 Fair Street
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Truckee
Place: Truckee-Tahoe Airport Community Room
Location: 10356 Truckee Airport Road
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Los Alamitos
Place: CDFW Los Alamitos Field Office
Location: 4665 Lampson Ave. #C
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sacramento
Place: Arcade Library Meeting Room
Location: 2443 Marconi Ave.
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sausalito
Place: Bay Model Visitor Center
Location: 2100 Bridgeway
Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018

Fresno
Place: Betty Rodriguez Regional Library
Location: 3040 N. Cedar Ave.
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Redding
Place: Redding Library Community Room
Location: 1100 Parkview Ave.
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More information is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan. Meetings are in-person only and no conference line or webcast will be available.

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Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program, (916) 445-3777
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1487