Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 Salmon Information Meeting. The meeting will feature the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries, in addition to a review of last year’s salmon fisheries and spawning escapement.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa.

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.

The 2019 Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to develop annual sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing recommendations. The process involves collaborative negotiations with West Coast states, federal and tribal agencies, and stakeholders interested in salmon fishery management and conservation. Public input will help California representatives develop a range of recommended season alternatives during the March 5-12 PFMC meeting in Vancouver, Wash. The PFMC will finalize the recommended season dates at its April 9-16 meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif.

A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page: www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon/preseason.

The meeting agenda and handouts will be posted online as soon as they become available.

New Recreational Groundfish Regulations Now in Effect

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding anglers that multiple changes to the recreational groundfish regulations have gone into effect for 2019. The new regulations were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in mid-December. Anglers should check CDFW’s website for the current regulations before fishing for groundfish, as changes can occur in-season. Groundfish regulations printed in the 2018-19 ocean regulations book are now out of date.

CDFW worked closely with recreational stakeholders to develop the following changes:

  • A decrease to the daily bag and possession limit for lingcod from two to one fish in the Mendocino, San Francisco, Central and Southern Management Areas. The Northern Management Area lingcod bag limit remains at two fish. CDFW recently published a blog post that provides a detailed explanation about this change.
  • Boat-based fishing for groundfish in the San Francisco Management Area opens on April 1, two weeks earlier than last year.
  • California scorpionfish (sometimes referred to as sculpin) is now open year-round in the Southern Management Area.
  • The Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) boundary has increased to 75 fathoms (450 feet) in the Southern Management Area.
  • The depth limit has increased to 40 fathoms (240 feet) inside the Cowcod Conservation Area, where select groundfish species may be taken or possessed.
  • The 40 and 75 fathom depth boundaries are defined by federal waypoints and can be found in Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, Part 660, Subpart C.

Many of these changes were made in response to the outcomes of recent stock assessment science. Populations of yelloweye rockfish and cowcod, which were declared overfished in 2002 and 2000 respectively, are increasing faster than anticipated. The improved status of these species allowed fishery managers to recommend management measures that provide some additional fishing opportunity. Similarly, in the spring of 2018, the canary rockfish sub-bag limit increased to two fish statewide, as the catch of this recently rebuilt stock was well under the recently increased harvest limit.

Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish remains prohibited statewide.

For more detailed information on the new 2019 recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or visit CDFW’s summary of recreational groundfish fishing regulations for 2019. For background information on groundfish science and management, please visit CDFW’s Marine Region Groundfish webpage.

Media Contacts:
Laura Ryley, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-7142
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

 

Recreational and Commercial Dungeness Crab Fisheries to Open in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to open the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County north to the California/Oregon state line.

The area from the Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line was closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Public health agencies have determined that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health in this area.

The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is now open in this area.

Under recent amendments to Section 5523 of the Fish and Game Code, the CDFW Director may provide a minimum of 72-hours’ notice before a gear setting period. Therefore, the Director has declared the commercial fishery to open at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.

For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

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Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (1/18/19)

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

More information on Dungeness crab, please visit: www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

 

CDFW Releases Guidance Document for Delta Conservation Planning

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today released the Delta Conservation Framework as a comprehensive resource and guide for conservation planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through 2050.

The framework provides a template for regional and stakeholder-led approaches to restoring ecosystem functions to the Delta landscape. It incorporates feedback from a series of public workshops initiated in 2016, prior planning efforts and the best available science on Delta ecosystem processes.

“The history, culture, politics and ecosystems of the Delta are complex. The Delta is also connected in many ways to the lands, watersheds and communities that surround it,” said CDFW Delta Policy Advisor Carl Wilcox. “If the Delta Conservation Framework is used as a guide toward future conservation project planning and implementation, it is possible to achieve the vision of a Delta composed of resilient natural and managed ecosystems situated within a mosaic of towns and agricultural landscapes, where people prosper and healthy wildlife communities thrive.”

The Delta Conservation Framework includes broad goals that acknowledge the importance of effective communication, community engagement and education, making decisions based on science, and working collectively on conservation permitting and funding. The framework suggests multiple strategies that could be used by all Delta stakeholders to move conservation forward.

CDFW initiated the process to develop the Delta Conservation Framework to maintain and increase conservation momentum in the Delta.

 More information about the process used to develop the framework, materials presented in the public workshop series, and electronic copies of the Delta Conservation Framework, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/DCF

Media Contacts:
Carl Wilcox, CDFW Delta Policy Advisor, (707) 944-5584
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

Northern Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Further Delayed in Ocean Waters North of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County north to the California/Oregon state line after state health agencies recommended to delay the fishery in the area due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in the area south of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line will open at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12.

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 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 commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.

No vessel may take, possess or land crab within a delayed area during the closure period. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses on board or lands Dungeness crab from ocean waters outside of this delayed area is prohibited from taking, possessing onboard or landing Dungeness crab for 30 days in this area once it opens to commercial fishing pursuant to Section 8279.1 of the Fish and Game Code.

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.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

This area north of Patrick’s Point remains closed for recreational take of Dungeness crab, also due to 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 (1/7/2019)

CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (1/7/2019)

2018-19 Frequently Asked Questions for the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery (12/3/2018)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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