Category Archives: Marine

Changes to Recreational Groundfish Regulations Effective Aug. 25

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces new recreational fishing restrictions will soon go into effect for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California state line. The changes to the authorized fishing depths described below take effect Saturday, Aug. 25 at 12:01 a.m.

The recreational groundfish fishery depth restrictions will be as follows:

  • Northern Management Area (Oregon/California state line to Cape Mendocino): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth through Dec. 31.
  • Mendocino Management Area (Cape Mendocino to Point Arena): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth through Dec. 31.
  • San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point): Take is prohibited seaward of the 30 fathom depth contour (180 feet) through Dec. 31.
  • Central Management Area (Pigeon Point to Point Conception): Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet) through Dec. 31.
  • Southern Management Area (Point Conception to the U.S./Mexico border): Take is prohibited seaward of the 60 fathom depth contour (360 feet) through Dec. 31. No changes are slated for this area.
  • Note that in the months of November-December, allowable fishing depths in the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas will remain at 20 fathoms, and will not extend to unlimited depths.

The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(a)). The 30, 40 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in Federal regulations (Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, Part 660, Subpart G).

Based on recent bycatch estimates for yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) from the California sport fishery, CDFW projects that the harvest guideline specified in federal regulation for 2018 (3.9 metric tons) will be exceeded unless changes are made. Pursuant to CCR Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make modifications to the fishery to avoid exceeding the limit, and must issue notice of any changes at least 10 days in advance of the effective date.

Yelloweye rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that were declared overfished in 2002 and cannot be retained in the recreational fishery. They are currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan to allow the population to recover, which has required significant cutbacks to west coast sport and commercial fisheries for more than a decade.

CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (e.g., rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.

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

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Media Contacts:
John Budrick, CDFW Marine Region, (650) 413-1501
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Grant Funding Available for Oil Spill Prevention and Response Studies

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently accepting proposals to fund up to $200,000 in specialized oil spill-related scientific studies in marine and inland environments. Eligible studies must relate to improved oil spill prevention and response efforts, best technologies and the improved understanding of the effects of oil on state waters.

CDFW’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) operates the California Oil Spill Study and Evaluation Program (COSSEP), which fulfills a legislative mandate to provide funding to any person or entity that qualifies to contract with the state for studies in the following areas:

  • Investigation and evaluation of applied spill prevention and response technologies
  • Effects of oil and spill response on fish and wildlife habitat and water quality
  • Strategies for best achievable protection of wildlife and habitats
  • Wildlife collection and rehabilitation during a spill incident
  • Natural resource damage assessment technologies and methods

Applications must be received by Sept. 12, 2018, and award recipients will be notified in December.

Full funding for COSSEP projects comes from the Oil Spill Prevention and Administration Fund, which assesses a per-barrel fee on oil entering California refineries. No taxpayer-funded dollars are directed to this account.

The number of contracts to be awarded is not pre-determined, but the total amount budgeted for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is approximately $200,000. There is also no specified minimum amount to be awarded.

For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/OSPR/Science/SSEP or contact CDFW Contract Analyst Heather Sironen at (916) 324-6252.

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Media Contacts:
Eric Laughlin, OSPR Communications, (916) 214-3279
Heather Sironen, OSRP Grants, (916) 324-6252

CDFW Launches Electronic Reporting System for Commercial Fish Landings

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the availability of E-tix, a new electronic reporting system for commercial fishery landings that came online July 1, 2018. With the cooperation of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), the E-tix application has been adapted to allow electronic reporting of all California landing records.

Since 1933, CDFW has relied on paper landing receipts that over the years expanded to 16 different paper forms. CDFW staff have been responsible for manually entering the data and managing it in data systems that have evolved over the decades. Using E-Tix allows fish receivers to record both federal and state fisheries landings through one application.

Electronic reporting using E-tix has been required for all federal sablefish landings since 2017 and Individual Fishery Quota trawl fisheries landings since 2011.

Between November 2016 and October 2017, CDFW worked with fish businesses and the California Fish and Game Commission to propose and adopt electronic reporting regulations. The regulations allow for voluntary use of the E-tix system to report landings during a one-year transition period, allowing fish receivers to adapt business practices from the old paper system to E-tix. Approximately 74 percent of respondents to a December 2016 survey said one year or less was adequate for this transition. Effective July 1, 2019 all commercial fishery landings must be recorded and submitted electronically using E-Tix (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 197).

In addition, CDFW’s Data and Technology Division is in the process of replacing the outdated Commercial Fisheries Information System to house and manage the landings data with a new, modern Marine Landings Data System. All data submitted using PSMFC’s E-Tix will be automatically transferred to CDFW’s Marine Landings Data System nightly.

CDFW encourages all fish receivers and fishermen with a fishermen’s retail license to begin using E-Tix well in advance of the mandatory electronic reporting date of July 1, 2019.

The E-Tix Login can be found at etix.psmfc.org/Account/Login. Resources to assist in this transition are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Commercial/Landing-Resources.

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Media Contacts:
Katie Perry, CDFW Marine Region, (916) 445-6456
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Fish and Game Commission Adopts Emergency Regulations to Increase Purple Sea Urchin Bag Limit in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties

At its April 2018 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) adopted emergency regulations to increase the daily bag limit for purple sea urchins taken while skin or SCUBA diving off Mendocino and Sonoma counties only. Purple sea urchins fall under the general invertebrate bag limit of 35 per day, but the emergency regulations now in effect will allow a daily bag limit of 20 gallons with no limit on possession. The emergency regulation will remain in effect for 180 days (until Nov. 6, 2018) unless extended by the Commission. Upon expiration, the bag limit will return to 35. A recent explosion in purple sea urchin populations off northern California has prompted requests for increased daily bag limits as an option to reduce purple urchin numbers.  The increase in purple urchin populations is one of several extreme environmental conditions contributing to a widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is collaborating with commercial divers, academic researchers and stakeholders to clear purple sea urchins in select test plots in order to study the effectiveness of clearing on restoring the bull kelp ecosystem. CDFW and its partners are working on permits and procedures to conduct controlled experiments to evaluate smashing compared to collecting purple sea urchins in these test plots.

CDFW reminds recreational participants that the new recreational limit allows urchin collection while skin or SCUBA diving by hand, and that there are regulations against waste of fish.  Recreational harvesters of urchin must put harvested urchins to use.  Smashing and disposing of sea urchins in the trash is still illegal.

Besides collecting purple urchins to extract gonads for eating, the urchins can make a good addition to compost material.

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

Recreational Ocean Salmon Seasons Opening in June

Additional sections of the California coast will open up to recreational ocean salmon fishing in June. In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California state line and Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude), the season will open June 1 and continue through Sept. 3, 2018. 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, 2018. The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico Border opened on Apr. 7 and will continue through July 2, 2018.

Shorter recreational ocean seasons in 2018 are the result of two key California salmon stocks attaining ‘overfished’ status this year. Both Sacramento River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook have experienced three successive years of poor adult returns, in response to the drought and poor conditions for survival.

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.

In 2019, the recreational ocean salmon season will open Apr. 6 south of Horse Mountain. The minimum size limit will be 20 inches total length in the area from Horse Mountain to Point Arena and 24 inches total length in all areas south of Point Arena. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook salmon per day. The remainder of the 2019 ocean salmon season will be decided at the PFMC meeting in April 2019.

For the first time, state ocean salmon regulations will automatically conform to federal regulations using the new process described in the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 1.95.  Federal regulations for ocean salmon were published in the Federal Register (83 FR 19005) on May 1, 2018, and are effective as of May 1, 2018.

Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline. Before engaging in any fishing activity for ocean salmon, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

  • CDFW website, www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon
  • National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline, (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW Ocean Salmon Hotline, (707) 576-3429

 

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