New Regulations for Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Effective Oct. 30, 2018

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) enacted new regulations to reduce the risk of marine life entanglements in commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear. These regulations became effective on October 30, 2018 and will be in place for the upcoming 2018-19 commercial Dungeness crab season.

Crab closeup

The new regulations allow no more than two trailer buoys to be used at the surface and establish a maximum distance between the front end of the main buoy to the tail end of the last trailer buoy depending on the depth that a trap is deployed. In depths less than or equal to 35 fathoms (210 feet), the distance should measure no more than 4 fathoms (24 feet), while at depths greater than 35 fathoms, the distance should measure no more than 6 fathoms (36 feet).

A diagram describing new surface gear regulations for the 2018-19 season can be found here.

crab

These regulations were developed with input from the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group (Working Group), a multi-stake holder group comprised of state and federal agency staff, fishermen and non-governmental organizations. The Working Group is tasked with evaluating options to reduce the risk of whale interactions with Dungeness crab fishing gear.

In addition to the new surface gear requirements, all recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fishermen are strongly encouraged to follow the Best Practices Guide developed by the Working Group to reduce the risk of marine life entanglements.

More information:
www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

 

CDFW to Hold Public Meetings on Elk and Bighorn Sheep Environmental Documents

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), on behalf of the California Fish and Game Commission as Lead Agency pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, is preparing draft environmental documents that address potential impacts resulting from the implementation of elk hunting regulations and bighorn sheep hunting regulations. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines, section 15082(c), public scoping sessions will be held to identify potentially significant effects on the environment that may result from the proposed regulations, as well as any feasible mitigation measures that should be addressed in the draft environmental document.

Both meetings will be held Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 at the CDFW Wildlife Branch, 1812 Ninth St. in Sacramento (95811). The scoping meeting for elk will be held from noon to 1 p.m., and the scoping meeting for bighorn sheep will be held from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Existing law (Fish and Game Code, section 3950) designates elk (genus Cervus) and bighorn sheep (subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni) as game mammals in California. Fish and Game Code, section 332 provides that the Fish and Game Commission may fix the area or areas, seasons and hours, bag and possession limit, sex and total number of elk that may be taken pursuant to its regulations. Fish and Game Code, section 4902 provides that the Commission may authorize sport hunting of mature Nelson bighorn rams.

State law (Fish and Game Code, section 207) requires the Commission to review mammal hunting regulations and CDFW to present recommendations for changes to the mammal hunting regulations to the Commission at a public meeting. Mammal hunting regulations adopted by the Commission provide for hunting elk and bighorn sheep in specific areas (hunt zones) of the state (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 362, 364 and 364.1). 

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Regina Vu, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3728
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

CDFW and the Hunting and Fishing Community Salute California’s Veterans

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) thanks California’s veterans for their service to and sacrifice for our country. Throughout the state, many nonprofit organizations and other groups are offering special hunting and fishing opportunities for veterans this fall. Please visit the following links to view some of these specific opportunities for veterans:

(Please note, this is not a complete list, and these specific opportunities are not endorsed by CDFW.)

CDFW also offers reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans, as per Fish and Game Code, section 7150. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt birds or mammals or go fishing in California is eligible. The 2018 Disabled Veteran or Recovering Service Member Sport Fishing License or Disabled Veteran or Recovering Service Member Hunting License cost only $7.21 when purchased at CDFW license counters. To prequalify for a Disabled Veterans hunting or fishing license, customers must submit a letter from the Veteran’s Administration to a CDFW license sales office. Subsequent licenses may be purchased online or from a license sales agent.

Annual California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. Annual hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30.

Fishing and hunting regulations and more information about licenses are available on the CDFW website.

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Media Contacts:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Southern Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed in Ocean Waters North of Bodega Head Due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of this area will open as scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 15.

State health agencies determined that Dungeness crab in state waters from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line have elevated levels of domoic acid and recommended a delay of the commercial fishery in this area.

The commercial delay includes ocean waters from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude). Commercial take and/or possession of Dungeness crab is prohibited in these waters. North of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, the Dungeness crab commercial season is not scheduled to open until Dec. 1. That opener is also subject to delay pending test results both for domoic acid as well as crab quality.

The area south of the southern boundary of the Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County to the California/Mexico border will open at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, to be preceded by an 18-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 6:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

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 the 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 Dungeness crab commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.

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.

Additional information on the commercial Dungeness fishery can be found here.

The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab opened in most areas of the state on Nov. 3 under a health warning issued by CDPH for Dungeness crab caught in Sonoma County. The recreational fishery remains closed in state waters from Patrick’s Point in Humboldt County north due to elevated levels of 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 (11/9/2018)

CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (11/9/2018)

2018-19 Frequently Asked Questions for the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery (11/9/2018)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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

CDFW Offers Grants to Engage Hispanic Communities in Fishing Activities

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting grant applications for fishing programs, classes and activities that educate and engage Hispanic communities. This grant program is part of CDFW’s ongoing effort to increase fishing participation statewide.vamos

To be eligible for funding, programs must be:

  • Ethnically inclusive: While a majority of participating families will be Hispanic, the event will be open to families of all races/ethnicities.
  • Family-focused: Program will encourage participation across multiple generations and genders.
  • Metro-centric: Program will encourage focus in metro areas.
  • Focused on Multiple Opportunities: Program will provide multiple opportunities for the same audience to participate in fishing.
  • Program should promote good stewardship toward the state’s aquatic resources.

The funds are made available from the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund. The fund supports the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Hispanic initiative, Vamos A Pescar. To further the reach and facilitate partnerships at the local level, funds are provided for state agencies to match and sub grant to local 501(c)(3) organizations. With the help of donations from companies and organizations, this fund has continued to grow and expand nationally to keep future generations educated about the joys of fishing and boating and the importance of conservation.

Interested 501 (c)(3) organizations should review the grant guidelines and complete the grant application form and send via email to clark.blanchard@wildlife.ca.gov no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. 

Proposals will be ranked by CDFW staff and submitted to RBFF for review by their advisory board. The advisory board will choose the final grant recipients by Jan. 18, 2019. Final decisions on the program are subject to the availability of state matching funds.

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Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News