Category Archives: Marine

More Areas Open for Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishing, Commercial Fishery to Open in Same Areas in 10 Days

Except for one area within Humboldt County, the California coast is open for recreational Dungeness crab fishing. The commercial crab fishery will follow in the same areas, opening May 12.

The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is open north of 41° 17.6’ N latitude at the southern boundary line of Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area (near Redwood Creek), Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border, however the recreational fishery remains closed between 40° 46.15′ N latitude (a line extending due west from the west end of the north jetty at the entrance of Humboldt Bay) and 41° 17.6’ N latitude.

Today the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) were notified by the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), that it no longer recommends the Dungeness crab fishery be closed in this area. According to the notice, repeated sampling of Dungeness crab and analysis of samples by CDPH laboratories indicates that consumption of Dungeness crab taken from this area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by CDFW (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 131), CDFW is providing commercial Dungeness crab fishermen ten days’ notice before the opening of the commercial fishery. The commercial fishery will open at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, May 12, from the Mendocino/Sonoma County line to 40° 46.15′ N latitude (a line extending due west from the west end of the north jetty at the entrance of Humboldt Bay) and north of 41° 17.6’ N latitude at the southern boundary line at Reading Rock SMCA (near Redwood Creek), Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border. The presoak period, during which commercial fishers may begin setting gear in place, starts at 8:01 a.m. Monday, May 9. For answers regarding fair start concerns due to the partial opening of Fish and Game District 6, see the latest department FAQs: Application of the Fair Start Rule to Potential Opening of Closed Areas on the North Coast.

The recreational Dungeness crab season in Humboldt and Mendocino counties is scheduled to end July 30 under regular open season regulations in the newly opened area while in counties south of Mendocino County the recreational season closes on June 30. The commercial fishery in the newly opened Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 are scheduled to end July 15 under regular open season regulations.

The recreational and commercial rock crab fishery is open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N latitude (Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County) and in the Channel Islands except in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below).

Despite several weeks of test results that showed samples below alert levels, as a precaution, CDPH and OEHHA recommend that anglers and consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH and OEHHA are also recommending that water or broth used to cook whole crabs be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. This precaution is being recommended to avoid harm in the unlikely event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Commission and CDFW on November 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of 40° 46.15’ N lat., at the Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay to the California/Mexico border and north of 41° 17.6’ N lat. at the southern boundary of the Reading Rock SMCA (near Redwood Creek), Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border.
  • On May 12, 2016 commercial Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of 40° 46.15’ N lat., at the Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County to the California/Mexico border and north of 41° 17.6’ N lat. at the southern boundary of the Reading Rock SMCA (near Redwood Creek), Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border. Note: The commercial fishery is currently open south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line.
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Lat.at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor Entrance).
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open in state waters of the Channel Islands except for an exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below).

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational Dungeness crab fishery are closed between of 40° 46.15’ N lat., near Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County and 41° 17.6’ N lat. at southern boundary of the Reading Rock SMCA (near Redwood Creek), Humboldt County.
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 36° 58.72′ N lat. and in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.;

(2) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;

(3) 33° 53.00’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;

(4) 33° 53.00’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.; and

(5) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.

 CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to extensively monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and rock crabs to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened throughout the state.

OEHHA Memo: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122849&inline

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

CDFW Announces Latest Dungeness and Rock Crab Openings, Closures

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor entrance) to the California/Mexico border. The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is now open south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude at the northern jetty of Humboldt Bay, Humboldt County to the California/Mexico border, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

Recent test results show that domoic acid levels in rock crab in Monterey and Dungeness crabs south of Humboldt Bay entrance and in Mendocino County no longer pose a significant human health risk, according to notice given today to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) by the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A closure for the recreational rock crab fishery remains in place north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below) while a closure for the recreational Dungeness crab fishery remains in place north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below). The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line.

The recreational Dungeness crab season in Humboldt and Mendocino counties is scheduled to end July 30 under regular open season regulations in the newly opened area while in counties south of Mendocino County, the recreational season closes on June 30.

Despite several weeks of test results that showed samples below alert levels, as a precaution, CDPH and OEHHA recommend that anglers and consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH and OEHHA are also recommending that water or broth used to cook whole crabs be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. This precaution is being recommended to avoid harm in the unlikely event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Commission and CDFW on November 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

 

Areas open to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, at the Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor Entrance)

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open in state waters of the Channel Islands except for an exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below)

 

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, near Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude and in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.;

(2) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(3) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(4) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.; and

(5) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.

 

CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to extensively monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and rock crabs to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened throughout the state.

OEHHA Rock Crab Memo 4/22/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122565&inline

OEHHA Dungeness Crad Memo 4/22/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122566&inline

 

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

Possible Recreational Razor Clam Closure in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) re-issued a health advisory reminding individuals to avoid eating recreationally harvested razor clams along Humboldt and Del Norte county beaches due to elevated domoic acid levels. This advisory was followed by a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to close the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

The OEHHA recommendation has prompted an emergency meeting of the Commission, scheduled to take place Monday, April 25 (detailed agenda to be posted at www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings). At that time, the Commission will consider whether to close the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

Razor clams tested from Humboldt and Del Norte counties showed domoic acid levels significantly above the federal action level of 20 parts per million (ppm) with all but one of the samples (17 out of 18) exceeding that action level. One third of the samples taken showed levels above 100 ppm. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in razor clams along the coast to determine when the fishery can safely be opened.

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.

OEHHA Memo 4/20/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122446&inline

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

 

Abalone Season Opens April 1 along the Northern California Coast

California’s popular red abalone sport fishery season will open April 1 in most waters north of San Francisco Bay. However, parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park remain closed to the take of abalone. A map of the closed area can be found online at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true.

Fishing for abalone is allowed from 8 a.m to one half hour after sunset. People may travel to fishing locations before 8 a.m. but may not actively search for or take any abalone before that time. The annual limit is 18, but only a total of nine can be taken from Sonoma and Marin counties.

A complete list of abalone fishing regulations is available in the 2016 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which is available wherever fishing licenses are sold or at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/sport-fishing.

Abalone licenses and report cards may be purchased online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

Abalone report cards are required to be reported online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing#758846-harvest-reporting or returned to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fort Bragg office, 32330 North Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554.

The return deadline is Jan. 31, 2017 but cards can be submitted early. Abalone report cards must be returned even if no abalone were taken or no attempt was made to take abalone.

Abalone cling to rocks, from wave-swept intertidal ledges to deep ocean reefs, where they feed on kelp and other algae. It can take 12 years or more for abalone on the north coast to grow to legal size for harvest. Similar to rockfish, abalone are a long-lived species but have generally low rates of reproduction. The fishery is managed conservatively to ensure a healthy fishery for generations to come.

In recent years, the red abalone fishery has come under some stress due to unfavorable ocean conditions.  In 2011, a red tide caused a die-off of abalone and other invertebrates primarily in Sonoma County.  Abalone feed on kelp but the warm water conditions the past two years have greatly reduced kelp growth which has resulted in noticeably leaner abalone. Great increases in purple urchin populations have reduced the amount of food and habitat available for abalone and could slow the recovery of kelp beds.

Abalone divers can help state biologists assess the ever-changing conditions that influence the abalone fishery. This year, a program will be established to allow divers to report observations that may help ongoing management. CDFW plans to kick off the new observer program later this spring.

Currently, the only ongoing abalone fishery in California is in the northern region of the state, which has remained productive for nearly 60 years. In 2014, the most recent year numbers are available, the catch estimated from returned abalone report cards and telephone surveys was 148,000 abalone. The average catch over the past five years has been about 210,000 abalone annually.

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Media Contacts:
Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Recreational and Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens in Channel Islands, Excluding State Waters Between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands

State health officials determined today that rock crab species caught in state waters near the Channel Islands no longer contain high levels of domoic acid, and no longer pose a significant risk to human health. Acting upon a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission has opened the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in this area.

However, a closure still remains in effect in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

  • 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.;
  • 34° 7.75’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
  • 33° 53.00’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
  • 33° 53.00’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.; and
  • 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.

Closures remain in effect for all rock crab in areas north of Piedras Blancas Light Station in San Luis Obispo County (35° 40′ N latitude), and for Dungeness crab in state waters north of the Sonoma/Mendocino County Line (38° 46.1′ N latitude). Tests on crabs in those areas continued to show elevated levels of domoic acid.

Pursuant to emergency regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, the recreational rock crab fishery is now open in state waters near the Channel Islands except for within the above listed exclusion area. The commercial rock crab fishery is also open effective immediately within the same areas open for the recreational crab fishery.

Despite several weeks of samples below alert levels, as a precaution, CDPH and OEHHA recommend that anglers and consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH and OEHHA are also recommending that water or broth used to cook whole crabs be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat.  When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid.  This precaution is being recommended to avoid harm in the unlikely event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

Elevated domoic acid levels forced a closure of the rock crab fishery but also a delay in the opening of the more economically valuable Dungeness crab fishery.  With recent test results showing that domoic acid levels south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line no longer pose a significant human health risk, both the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries opened earlier this month.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission and CDFW on Nov.  5 and 6, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries along the mainland coast south of 35° 40′ N latitude (Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Luis Obispo County)
  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in state waters near the Channel Islands outside of the exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands
  • Recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino County line at 38° 46.1’ N latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries north of 35° 40′ N latitude (Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Luis Obispo County)
  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.;
(2) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
(3) 33° 53.00’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
(4) 33° 53.00’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.; and
(5) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.

  • Recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino County line at 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to extensively monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and rock crabs to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened in the remainder of the state.

Rock Crab Fishery Closure Map

OEHHA Memo 3/28/2016

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887

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