Category Archives: Marine

Spiny Lobster Report Cards Due by April 30

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit online or return their cards by April 30, 2017, as required by law. The cards must be reported even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters.

Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery. Card holders should review their report cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate.

Any 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to submit online or return their card(s) by April 30, 2017 will be charged a non-return fee of $21.60 upon purchase of a 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Card. Otherwise, they may choose to skip the 2017-2018 fishing season to be able to purchase a spiny lobster report card a following season at no extra cost. If multiple spiny lobster report cards were purchased, please report all cards, including lost cards, to avoid the non-return fee when purchasing a spiny lobster report card next lobster fishing season.

Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/reportcards or by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

For additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program, please visit CDFW’s California Spiny Lobster webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214

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

Low Salmon Projections Lead to Fisheries Restrictions, Some Closures in 2017

Historically low numbers of fall-run and winter-run Chinook salmon have prompted the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) to drastically limit the state’s salmon fishery for the remainder of 2017.

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In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude), the entire ocean salmon fishery will be closed, as will the fall-run Chinook fishery on both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

Returning stock projections for fall-run Chinook in the Klamath River Basin are the lowest on record. By limiting, and in some cases closing, the fisheries for the remainder of 2017, the FGC hopes to maximize fall- and winter-run Chinook survival and reproduction and support efforts to rebuild the fisheries.

“Closing an entire fishing season is not something that I take lightly, but the survival of the fall-run Chinook in the Klamath and Trinity rivers is at stake,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “CDFW and other fisheries management partners agree that these restrictions are necessary to help recover this vital species.”

Inland, spring-run Chinook fishing will still be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. After these dates, both fisheries will close for the remainder of the calendar year. However, the nearby Smith River will remain open for fall-run Chinook, and there are additional opportunities in southern Oregon rivers. During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

The ocean salmon season north of Horse Mountain will be completely closed in 2017. All areas south of Horse Mountain opened on April 1 and will remain open, with some restrictions, as follows.

  • In the Fort Bragg area, which extends from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the season will continue through May 31, reopening Aug. 15 and extending through Nov. 12 with a 20-inch minimum size limit for the season. The summer closure in this area is also related to the limited numbers of Klamath River fall-run Chinook.
  • In the San Francisco area, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude), the season will close on April 30 under a 24-inch minimum size limit, and reopen on May 15 through Oct. 31 with a 20-inch minimum size limit.
  • In the Monterey area between Pigeon Point and Point Sur (36° 18’ 00” N. latitude), the season will continue through July 15, while areas south of Point Sur will continue through May 31. The minimum size limit south of Pigeon Point will remain 24-inches total length.

Other restrictions for these areas are as follows:

  • The daily bag limit is two salmon per day of any species except coho salmon and 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. CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries.
  • For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod may be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling between Horse Mountain and Point Conception.

Shortened ocean salmon seasons in northern California were necessary partly because data show that Klamath River fall-run Chinook are most likely to be caught in ocean areas near the Klamath River mouth, with impacts on this stock decreasing the further south fishing opportunity occurs.

Concerns are also high for endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook, contributing to the decision to shorten ocean fishing seasons in areas south of Pigeon Point. Three consecutive years of low juvenile numbers, coupled with unusually warm and unproductive ocean conditions, led fishery managers and industry representatives to implement protections beyond those required by the Endangered Species Act biological opinion and the federal salmon Fishery Management Plan’s harvest control rule. Fishery data suggest that winter-run Chinook are concentrated south of Pigeon Point, especially south of Point Sur, during the summer and early fall. Ocean fishery closures and size limit restrictions implemented in the Monterey management areas are intended to minimize contact with winter-run Chinook.

Klamath fall-run Chinook are currently classified under the federal plan as “approaching an overfished condition.” Given the poor return of adults to the river the past two years, coupled with returns this fall that are expected to be just as poor or even worse, the stock is expected to be classified as “overfished” in 2018. As a result, CDFW will be working with federal and tribal partners to develop a Rebuilding Plan for Klamath River fall-run Chinook next year.

CDFW and the FGC are tasked with managing the state’s fishery resources to ensure sustainability. Given the stock status, extra precaution is warranted. Every fish counts this year – especially every fish returning to the river to spawn.

Media Contacts:
Karen Mitchell (Klamath and Trinity), CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-0826
Kandice Morgenstern (Ocean Salmon), CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Seeks Public Input to Study Abalone Management Preferences

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking public input to assist in the development of a red abalone fishery management plan (FMP). An online survey to collect public opinions on red abalone management can be accessed on the CDFW website.

To complete the survey by mail instead of through the website, please call (707) 964-5791 to request the survey forms or write to: CDFW, attn. Jerry Kashiwada, 32330 North Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, CA 95437. The survey will close April 16, so interested parties should participate as soon as possible.

The red abalone FMP will build off current management of the northern California red abalone sport fishery as outlined in the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan, as well as meet requirements for fisheries management in the Marine Life Management Act.

A similar survey was conducted in 2015 (results available online) but CDFW is interested in learning if recent unprecedented environmental conditions have changed preferences on abalone management. The online survey is intended to reach a broad audience and help ensure the abalone management framework developed under the FMP addresses the interests and concerns of the public.

More details about abalone management and the FMP process can be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contacts:
Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791

Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishery to Open South of Horse Mountain on April 1

California’s recreational salmon fishery will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 1, 2017, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border. The recreational salmon fishery north of Horse Mountain will remain closed for all of 2017 due to historically low numbers of Klamath River fall Chinook salmon.

The April 1 opening was set to provide angling opportunity until the remainder of the 2017 salmon seasons are decided next month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during its April 6-11 meeting in Sacramento, and by the Fish and Game Commission at its April 13 teleconference.

The daily bag limit is two Chinook per day and 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. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during the month of April, please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) ocean salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

“Salmon abundance estimates are down this year, which is likely due to California’s recent drought and ocean conditions that were poor for salmon survival. Low forecasts for Klamath River fall run and continued concern over Sacramento River winter run are expected to limit fishing opportunity for the 2017 season,” said CDFW environmental scientist Kandice Morgenstern.

For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod shall be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.

As seasons may close early or be subject to closure periods in 2017, anglers are advised to visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline for the latest information on open fishing dates and locations. Many areas are likely to see reduced fishing opportunities this year compared with 2016 due to lower estimates of salmon stocks.

The PFMC is currently considering three alternatives for California’s 2017 commercial and recreational ocean salmon regulations, including season dates and size limits. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives that can be found on the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

Final sport regulations will be published in the 2017-2018 Supplemental Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which will be posted online in May at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries.

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

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