CDFW Closes License Sales Counters, Visitors Centers to Help Slow Spread of COVID-19

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is temporarily closing areas of high public use including visitor centers and license counters to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

While many business functions will continue during this time, some may be temporarily modified. Before heading to a CDFW facility, please contact the regional headquarters office to determine if that facility is open.

Information on purchasing licenses, permits, tags and other entitlements, can be found on the CDFW website.

Outdoor areas will remain open and available for the public to enjoy. CDFW is responsible for over one million acres of public lands that will remain open. These lands include Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves that provide an opportunity to recreate and explore the rich diversity of fish, wildlife and habitats that California has to offer. CDFW recommends that all visitors follow guidance for social distancing (of at least 6 feet) when visiting our public lands. To explore the outdoor opportunities on CDFW public lands, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/Lands.

As the situation continues to change, please check with your local public health agency and adhere to guidance they provide. Please stay healthy and safe.

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

 

Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Update: Entanglement Risk Low, Fishery to Remain Open

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is providing the following important update on the status of the commercial California Dungeness crab fishery which includes the Northern Management Area (Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) and Central Management Area (Fish and Game Districts 10 and south).

On Mar. 9, the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group (Working Group) was convened to review current data and conduct an updated risk assessment to evaluate the risk of marine life entanglement. The Working Group provided a consensus recommendation that the risk remained low across all four risk factors. Informed by this recommendation and after careful consideration of available data, the CDFW Director determined that no management action is necessary at this time; the season will remain open on April 1 for both the Northern and Central Management Areas. The Director and the Working Group encourage the fleet to continue to use Best Practices when fishing and to be ready to quickly respond to a management change when significant numbers of whales return to the fishing grounds, typically in April or May each year.

For the remainder of the commercial season, CDFW will continue to collect data to inform bi-weekly risk assessments by the Working Group. Based on that process, CDFW will likely take additional management actions in response to future risk assessments. Management action may occur at any time as conditions related to entanglement risk change. CDFW is committed to providing the fleet with as much advance notice as possible should the Director determine a management response is appropriate. For more information related to the risk assessment process, please visit CDFW’s Whale Safe Fisheries page.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2019-2020 Dungeness crab commercial season or wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

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Media Contacts:
Ryan Bartling, CDFW Marine Region, (415) 761-1843
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

California ocean salmon catch

Delayed Opening of April 2020 Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishery for Much of the California Coast

California’s recreational salmon fishery will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 4 in the Monterey management area, from Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border. In the Fort Bragg and San Francisco management areas, between Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) and Pigeon Point, the recreational salmon fishery will open on Saturday, April 11 rather than April 4. The Klamath Management Zone (Horse Mountain to the Oregon state line) will remain closed for the month of April. The remaining 2020 season dates will be finalized next month.

At its meeting this week in Rohnert Park the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) made the decision to open sections of the California coast on April 4 and April 11. The delayed opening will help managers achieve conservation goals for Klamath River fall Chinook, which are projected to return in low numbers this year, while providing anglers with opportunity to catch Sacramento River fall Chinook.

Traditionally, fishing in the Monterey area is better early in the season, prompting recreational fishing representatives to prioritize opening this area ahead of others on the California coast. Delaying the opener in areas to the north should allow for more fishing opportunity there later in the year, when catch rates are typically better.

Final season dates will be decided during the April 4-10 PFMC meeting in Vancouver, Washington. The public is invited to comment on the PFMC’s season proposals at that meeting or at a hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 at the Red Lion Hotel, 1929 Fourth St. in Eureka. Comments can also be submitted through the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

In April, the minimum size limit in the Fort Bragg management area is 20 inches total length. In the San Francisco and Monterey management areas, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.

Anglers are advised to check for updated information when planning a salmon fishing trip. Season dates, bag/possession limit information and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page at: wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.

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Media Contacts:
Pete McHugh, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2870

Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Vintage fish planting truck at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

CDFW to Sell Licenses and Warden Stamps, Meet with Public at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

Long Beach-area residents can purchase their 2020 fishing and hunting licenses, validations and report cards directly from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the 74th annual Long Beach Fred Hall Show scheduled March 4-8 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

CDFW leaders will participate in a discussion panel followed by a question and answer session. Participants will include Marine Region Manager Dr. Craig Shuman, Assistant Chief of the Marine Enforcement District Mike Stefanak and Inland Desert Region Fisheries Supervisor Russell Black, who will provide an overview of current natural resource and conservation topics and take questions from the public on a variety of issues. The panel discussion is scheduled Friday, March 6, at 3 p.m. in the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Theater. Wayne Kotow, Executive Director for the Coastal Conservation Association of California, will be the moderator.

In addition to the licensing and informational booth where attendees can speak directly to CDFW biologists, wildlife officers and licensing staff, attendees can also learn about a career in CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division by speaking with a wildlife officer at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts and a free laser-shot activity. The 2020 Warden Stamp will also be available for purchase. Stamp sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

Staff from CDFW’s hatchery program will be available as well to talk about fish-rearing and stocking procedures, and a restored 1925 Dodge hatchery truck will be on display along with a modern fish-transporting truck. CDFW’s Fishing in the City program will be on hand to teach kids proper casting and fishing techniques, and kids can use these new skills to catch a fish at the free youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by CDFW.

The show will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6. On Saturday, March 7, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 8, the show is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission to the Long Beach Fred Hall Show is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for military with ID (available only at the ticket window). Children 15 and under enter for free with a paid adult.

CDFW will also have staff at two other sport shows scheduled in March — the Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat & RV Show March 13-15 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield, and the Del Mar Fred Hall Show March 26-29 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (San Diego County).

For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com.

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

2020 Warden Stamp, Featuring Marine Fish, Now Available for Purchase

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the 2020 Warden Stamp, a collectible decal that many diehard hunters and anglers collect and display on vehicles and other items in order to show support for California’s wildlife officers. This year’s stamp, which features a dorado, a marine fish also known as mahi-mahi or dolphinfish, can be purchased online or at CDFW offices for just $5.

shield shaped stamp with dorado illustration, warden badge, and text - Support California Wildlife OfficersThe Warden Stamp Program was initiated in 2010 to address the need for better equipment and training for the state’s wildlife officers and to provide funding for special law enforcement programs. All funds raised from the sales of the stamp go to purchase necessary equipment for wildlife officers and to support CDFW’s K-9 program.

“Those who purchase the Warden Stamp – hunters, anglers and non-consumptive users – appreciate and want to conserve our state’s amazing natural resources,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Purchase of the stamp demonstrates public support of wildlife officers and allows them to do their jobs more safely and efficiently.”

Approximately 465 wildlife officers patrol and protect 159,000 square miles of California’s natural habitat and 200 miles out to sea. Though their primary function is to enforce California’s Fish and Game Code, they may be called upon to enforce any of California’s laws.

Wildlife officers patrol on foot, on horseback, by plane, boats and in a variety of vehicles. They investigate reports of violations, collect and preserve evidence, write reports and testify in court.

Wildlife officers are also expected to promote and coordinate hunter education programs, collect and report information on the conditions of fish and wildlife and their habitat and represent CDFW at local schools, meetings of hunting and fishing clubs and other community events.

To view an image of the 2020 Warden Stamp, visit wildlife.ca.gov/warden-stamp. To purchase the stamp, visit  wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

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