Category Archives: Marine

Scientists Test Oil Spill Containment Equipment in Mission Bay

IMG_0391.JPGThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) facilitated an exercise today to test response strategies aimed at protecting environmentally sensitive sites in the event of an oil spill near Mission Bay. 

As part of the exercise, OSPR personnel and local oil spill responders stretched 800 feet of orange containment boom across the channel leading into the bay from Mission Point to Hospitality Point. There was no reported spill. These were test procedures to tailor a response and refine the contingency plan to best prevent oil from reaching Mission Bay and the mouth of the San Diego River in the event of a spill. 

“Drills like this not only allow us to test these strategies in real-time conditions, but are also good practice opportunities for local oil spill responders,” said OSPR Environmental Scientist Kris Wiese. 

Factors such as tidal patterns, currents and weather conditions affect how well boom and other equipment works. Testing a strategy helps experts from OSPR determine whether it is likely to be successful in the event of a spill or needs to be altered. 

Pictures from today’s events are available on the OSPR Facebook page. 

Background

CDFW’s Sensitive Site Strategy Evaluation Program (SSSEP) evaluates strategies selected from more than 600 sites statewide that are particularly vulnerable to an oil spill. These areas are identified in Area Contingency Plans (ACPs) and are rich in sensitive resources such as fish, birds and marine mammals. Many also include habitat for wildlife breeding, nesting and feeding.

ACPs cover the entire coastline and marine waters of California and include the state’s busiest port areas: San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles/Long Beach and San Diego. More than 50 state, federal and local governments, as well as non-governmental organizations, industry and the general public contribute to ACP development.  

Media Contact: Eric Laughlin, OSPR Communications, (916) 214-3279

 

Commercial and Recreational Rock Crab Fisheries Now Open at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County

Following the lifting of a health advisory in the same area, the commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are now open from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County south to the U.S. – Mexico border. The commercial and recreational seasons for rock crab are open all year.

The open area along the mainland coast for rock crab fishery has been extended northward to include Pigeon Point, San Mateo County (37° 11′ N lat.). This follows the lifting of the health advisory today by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and a recommendation from the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of CDPH, to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to lift the closure. The recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries are now open in ocean waters between 37° 11′ N lat. (Pigeon Point, San Mateo County) to the U.S – Mexico border. A closure remains in effect north of this point.

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.

CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to monitor domoic acid levels in rock crabs to determine when the fishery can safely be opened north of this location.

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 37° 11′ N lat. at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County and in state waters off the Channel Islands.
  • Recreational Dungeness crab fishery is open north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The recreational season is scheduled to close north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line on July 30.
  • Commercial Dungeness crab fishery is open north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line and is scheduled to close on July 15.

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 37° 11′ N lat. at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County.
  • Commercial and recreational Dungeness crab fisheries are closed south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The  season closed on June 30 in this area.

OEHHA Memo

July 2 is Free Fishing Day in California

AVU-2016-0013 (421)Have you ever felt the excitement of catching a fish? This summer, angling novices can experience the thrill for free. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites all Californians to fish on July 2 and Sept. 3 – no fishing license required. If you would like to fish the rest of the year, you can purchase a license online through CDFW’s website.

“Free Fishing Day is always great opportunity to try an all-American pastime that is one of my favorites,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “If you’re already an experienced angler, I encourage you to invite a friend, relative or neighbor who’s never tried it or who wants more experience.”

A basic annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $47.01, but CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend – when it’s legal to fish without one. This year, the first of the two Free Fishing Days falls on the Saturday of Independence Day weekend.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

Anglers can review the sport fishing regulations online (www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations) or use CDFW’s mobile web site to view limits and regulations specific to a body of water (https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs/).

Media Contacts:

Steve Gonzalez, CDFW Communications, (916) 715-9072

Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 323-5556

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