Category Archives: Marine

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.

###

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.

###

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

CDFW and the Hunting and Fishing Community Salute California’s Veterans

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) thanks California’s veterans for their service to and sacrifice for our country. Throughout the state, many nonprofit organizations and other groups are offering special hunting and fishing opportunities for veterans this fall. Please visit the following links to view some of these specific opportunities for veterans:

(Please note, this is not a complete list, and these specific opportunities are not endorsed by CDFW.)

CDFW also offers reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans, as per Fish and Game Code, section 7150. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt birds or mammals or go fishing in California is eligible. The 2018 Disabled Veteran or Recovering Service Member Sport Fishing License or Disabled Veteran or Recovering Service Member Hunting License cost only $7.21 when purchased at CDFW license counters. To prequalify for a Disabled Veterans hunting or fishing license, customers must submit a letter from the Veteran’s Administration to a CDFW license sales office. Subsequent licenses may be purchased online or from a license sales agent.

Annual California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. Annual hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30.

Fishing and hunting regulations and more information about licenses are available on the CDFW website.

###

Media Contacts:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Southern Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed in Ocean Waters North of Bodega Head Due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of this area will open as scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 15.

State health agencies determined that Dungeness crab in state waters from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line have elevated levels of domoic acid and recommended a delay of the commercial fishery in this area.

The commercial delay includes ocean waters from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude). Commercial take and/or possession of Dungeness crab is prohibited in these waters. North of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, the Dungeness crab commercial season is not scheduled to open until Dec. 1. That opener is also subject to delay pending test results both for domoic acid as well as crab quality.

The area south of the southern boundary of the Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County to the California/Mexico border will open at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, to be preceded by an 18-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 6:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

This delay shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends opening the fishery in this region. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the Dungeness crab commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.

Once a positive determination is made to open the fishery, CDFW may provide the fleet a minimum of 72-hour advance notice announcing when trap gear can be set.

Additional information on the commercial Dungeness fishery can be found here.

The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab opened in most areas of the state on Nov. 3 under a health warning issued by CDPH for Dungeness crab caught in Sonoma County. The recreational fishery remains closed in state waters from Patrick’s Point in Humboldt County north due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and 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 death.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (11/9/2018)

CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (11/9/2018)

2018-19 Frequently Asked Questions for the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery (11/9/2018)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

###

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

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Fresno

At its October 2018 meeting in Fresno yesterday, 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 adopt the vision statement for co-management among the Commission, California tribes and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The vision statement was a recommendation forwarded to the Commission from the Tribal Committee, which met Tuesday.

In partnership with the California Waterfowl Association, the Commission also recognized six newly inducted members of the California Waterfowler’s Hall of Fame: Dr. Mickey E. Heitmeyer, Jeff Kerry, Peter Ottesen, Thomas Quinn, Mark Gregory Steidlmayer and Peter Stent. Former executive director of the Commission, John Carlson, Jr. who is currently the president of the California Waterfowl Association, made the presentation.

The Commission approved a 90-day extension of the emergency regulations for recreational take of purple sea urchin that increased the bag limit from 35 individuals to 20 gallons in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The Commission also authorized publication of a notice of intent to amend regulations for recreational take of purple sea urchin under a regular rulemaking, to increase bag limits to 40 gallons in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and also to potentially apply these regulations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The Commission will take action on this proposal at its February meeting in Sacramento.

The Commission took action to adopt regulations to limit incidental take of crabs other than the genus cancer. The action will subject box and king crabs to a 25 lb. possession and landing limit, and sheep crab to a 95,000 lb. annual total allowable catch.

In support of a collaboration among CDFW, the California Ocean Protection Council, and academic partners, the Commission adopted a marine protected area monitoring action plan that, for the first time, provides a statewide approach to monitoring California’s marine protected area network. The action plan incorporates novel scientific approaches and offers important prioritization of long-term monitoring and evaluation metrics.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Commission Vice President Anthony Williams and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Peter Silva were present. Commissioner Russell Burns was absent.

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 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.

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