Tag Archives: closure

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery to Close Saturday, Sept. 24

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the recreational Pacific halibut fishery will close Saturday, Sept. 24 at 12:01 a.m. for the remainder of 2016. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2016 quota of 29,640 pounds will be exceeded unless the fishery is closed.

Formal authority to close the fishery resides with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which took action to close the fishery following consultation with CDFW.

Beginning in 2015, CDFW committed to tracking the fishery in-season to ensure catch amounts would not exceed the California quota. The quota amount is determined annually in January through an international process, and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Pacific halibut occupy a large geographic range, from the Aleutian Islands eastward through Alaska to British Columbia and throughout ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest. Along the West Coast, they are commonly found as far south as Point Arena in Mendocino County. In recent years, catches in northern California have increased, consistent with a general shift of the stock to the south and east.

CDFW field staff sampled public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish throughout the season. Using this information, CDFW conferred with NMFS and IPHC on a weekly basis to review projected catch amounts and determine when the quota would be attained.

For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, please check one of the following resources:

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Media Contacts:
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2892

Second Klamath Salmon Fishing Quota Met; Catch Now Subject to Size Restriction

Salmon anglers have met their quota for salmon in another popular Del Norte County spot for the season, triggering new restrictions on the Klamath River fishery. Monitoring efforts show that anglers below the Highway 96 Bridge in Weitchecpec caught their quota of 555 adult fall-run Chinook, 22 inches or longer, by sundown Tuesday, Aug. 23. After the quota is met, anglers are still able to fish in this area but must release any Chinook longer than 22 inches.

Yesterday, Aug. 22, the quota at the Klamath Spit Area was reached, triggering the closure of the salmon fishery in this area for the season. The Klamath River above the confluence with the Trinity River will remain open to fishing until 189 adult Chinook are caught.

The quota on the Trinity River is 183 adult Chinook from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar Flat, and 183 adult Chinook from Cedar Flat up to the Old Lewiston Bridge. These fisheries are also still open at this time.

Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.

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Media Contacts:
Sara Borok, CDFW Klamath River Project, (707) 822-0330

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opener Delayed and Commercial Rock Crab Season Closed

The Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today enacted an emergency rulemaking to delay the opener of the commercial Dungeness crab season, which was scheduled to open on Nov. 15, and close the commercial rock crab fishery, which is open year round. The closure is in effect today.

“Crab is an important part of California’s culture and economy, and I did not make this decision lightly,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “But doing everything we can to limit the risk to public health has to take precedence.”

The emergency rule prohibits commercial take and possession of Dungeness crab and all rock crab from ocean waters, including bays and estuaries, north of the Ventura/Santa Barbara county line. Closure of the fisheries shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fisheries be open, and the Director of CDFW provides notification to the commercial fisheries.

This decision follows a health advisory issued by CDPH on Tuesday. OEHHA followed that with a recommendation for delays and closures. In similar action, on Thursday, Nov. 5, the Fish and Game Commission voted to delay the recreational Dungeness crab opener and close the recreational rock crab fishery. The recreational Dungeness crab season was scheduled to start Saturday, Nov. 7.

CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened. Once levels drop and the crab are safe, CDFW will coordinate with the Commission so that the season openers for Dungeness crab ensure an orderly fishery balancing recreational and commercial participation.

CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that the health risk to humans is significant. 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.

Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California’s coast. State scientists tested crab from nine ports from Santa Barbara to Crescent City, and determined that domoic acid levels are exceeding the state’s action level.

Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures due to the El Niño event California is experiencing are likely the cause of the size and persistence of this bloom.

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Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (11/6/2015)
Finding of Emergency (11/6/2015)
Notice of Emergency Regulatory Action (11/6/2015)
Approved Text of Emergency Regulation (11/6/2015)

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

Emergency Crab Closure Recommended, Commission to Meet Thursday

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a health advisory warning individuals to avoid eating rock and Dungeness crab due to the detection of high levels of domoic acid. The advisory was followed by a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to the California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to delay the start of the Dungeness crab season and close the rock crab fishery. These actions would apply to each fishery from the Oregon border to the southern Santa Barbara County line.

The OEHHA recommendation has prompted an emergency meeting of the Commission, which will take place at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 (agenda and meeting information). At that time, the Commission will consider voting to delay the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery. The recreational Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Saturday, Nov. 7.

Also based on the recommendation from OEHHA, CDFW will act on its authority to delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season. The commercial Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Sunday, Nov. 15 in most of the state.

Similar action will be considered by the Commission and CDFW to close the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in the affected area. Both recreational and commercial rock crab seasons are open all year.

“These are incredibly important fisheries to our coastal economies and fresh crab is highly anticipated and widely enjoyed this time of year. Of course, delaying or closing the season is disappointing,” said CDFW Marine Regional Manager Craig Shuman. “But public health and safety is our top priority.”

CDFW, along with the OEHHA and CDPH, has been actively testing crabs since early September. OEHHA announced today that consumption of Dungeness and rock crabs is likely to pose a significant human health risk as a result of high levels of domoic acid. CDFW will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries 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.

Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California’s coast. State scientists have been testing crab from eight fishing ports from Morro Bay to Crescent City, and have determined that the neurotoxin has spread throughout the fishery grounds.

Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures associated with the El Niño event California is experiencing is likely a major contributing factor to the size and persistence of this bloom.

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

USFS Closure Order in Sequoia National Forest Now Lifted

No Restrictions on Hunters in D-9 Deer Hunt Zone

Law enforcement’s multi-week search for fugitive Benjamin Peter Ashley has concluded, and the previous U.S. Forest Service public safety closure order for portions of the Sequoia National Forest, including the Piutes Mountains, has been lifted.

The restrictions, which limited public access to lands and roadways in the Kern River District within the Sequoia National Forest, are no longer in place and activities may resume in these areas, including in the D-9 deer hunt zone.

CDFW thanks the public for their patience and cooperation.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

Cpt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692