Category Archives: Marine

CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Ocean Salmon Fisheries

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend its upcoming annual Ocean Salmon Information Meeting. A review of last year’s ocean salmon fisheries and spawning escapement will be presented, in addition to the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa (95403).

Anglers are encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April.

Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative process involving the PFMC, the California Fish and Game Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Public input will help California representatives develop a range of recommended season alternatives during the PFMC March 7-13 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. Final adoption of ocean salmon season regulations will occur during the PFMC April 6-11 meeting in Sacramento.

The 2017 Ocean Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to establish annual sport and commercial ocean salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage.

The meeting agenda and handouts will be posted online as soon as they become available.

Media Contacts:
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Now Extends to Bodega Bay

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it will extend the open area of the commercial rock crab fishery northward to Bodega Bay in Sonoma County.

  • On Feb. 10 the commercial rock crab fishery is open from 38° 18′ N. Lat. (Bodega Bay, Sonoma County) south to the California/Mexico border.

At 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. Because of this, on Nov. 8, OEHHA, in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), recommended to CDFW to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point. 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 (ppm) in the viscera. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught north of Bodega Bay.

Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of Bodega Bay 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 open. In the meantime, CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September. The most recent test results showed that domoic acid in rock crabs from Bodega Bay and Point Reyes had fallen below the alert level of 30 ppm in their viscera.

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 (2/10/2017)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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

Anglers Can Retain Canary Rockfish in 2017

Starting in 2017, anglers will be allowed to retain canary rockfish for the first time in more than a decade. Canary rockfish was declared overfished in 2000, but the population rebuilt to healthy levels quicker than anticipated based on a combination of conservation efforts and restrictive management.

“We are pleased to offer new opportunities based on the improved stock status of canary rockfish.” said Marci Yaremko, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) state/federal fisheries program manager. “Sweeping changes were made to help rebuild the stock – prohibiting retention, shortening fishing seasons, closing deep-water fishing areas and encouraging widespread use of descending devices to improve survival for released fish. These sacrifices are finally paying off.”

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the state’s recreational groundfish fishing regulations in December, including allowing retention of canary rockfish. The new regulations are effective as of Feb. 7.

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

  • Northern – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction
  • Mendocino – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction
  • San Francisco – Open April 15 through Dec. 31 in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less
  • Central – Open April 1 through Dec. 31 in 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less
  • Southern – Open March 1 through Dec. 31 in 60 fathoms (360 feet) or less

The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour. The 30, 40, 50 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660, Subpart G).

New statewide changes include:

  • A new sub-bag limit of one canary rockfish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) Complex bag limit
  • A decrease in the sub-bag limit of black rockfish from five to three within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit
  • Elimination of the sub-bag limit of bocaccio within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit
  • A decrease in the lingcod bag limit from three to two fish
  • Allowance of petrale sole and starry flounder to be retained year round at all depths

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

For more detailed 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.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/groundfish .

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Media Contacts:
Joanna Grebel, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 601-2279

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

Recreational Razor Clam Fishery Closure in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties Extended Due to Ongoing Public Health Concerns

Under new authority granted this year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham has acted to extend the closure of the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to continued high levels of domoic acid, as determined by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in consultation with the California Department of Public Health. The fishery closure will remain in effect until the health agencies determine clams to be safe and recommend reopening the fishery.

State health agencies determined last spring that razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte counties had unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended fishery closure in April 2016. The California Fish and Game Commission closed the fishery under emergency rules from April to October 2016 and extended the closure to Jan. 26, 2017.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine algae. 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.

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

Open Area for the Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Now Extends to Pillar Point, San Mateo County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that effective immediately the open area of the commercial rock crab fishery extends northward to Pillar Point, San Mateo County at the recommendation of state health agencies.

  • On Jan. 25 the commercial rock crab fishery is open from 37° 30′ N. Lat. (Pillar Point San Mateo County) south to the California/Mexico border.

At 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. 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. Because of this, on Nov. 8, OEHHA, in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), recommended to CDFW to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught north of Pillar Point, San Mateo County.

Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pillar Point 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 open. In the meantime, CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that rock crabs from Point Reyes had elevated levels of domoic acid in their viscera. 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 (1/25/2017)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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