North Coast All-Depth Recreational Fishing to Begin Nov. 1

Ever wanted to catch a widow rockfish? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce a new recreational fishing opportunity for groundfish north of Point Arena (38° 57.5’ N. lat.) from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.

For two decades, recreational fishing for groundfish species in deep waters off the California coast has been completely off limits, driven by the need to protect certain stocks that have been overfished. This marks the first time anglers off the northern California coast will be allowed to fish for groundfish without needing to abide by fishing depth limit regulations.

The all-depth fishery will take place only in November and December 2019, and only north of Point Arena. The newly open areas will allow anglers to target groundfish species in the midwater column, such as widow and yellowtail rockfish, as well as species found on the bottom. There are no special gear requirements, though unless otherwise specified, regulations require anglers to use not more than two hooks and one line to target groundfish. All other season dates, bag limits, size limits and other special area closures still apply.

“We’re hoping there will be calm weather windows on the north coast, so anglers can get out and try their luck with a different variety of rockfish and other groundfish species that are found in deeper depths these next two months,” said CDFW Federal Fisheries Program Manager Marci Yaremko.

While the all-depth fishery has been proposed since 2017, encounters with yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) in 2017 and 2018 exceeded the federal limit. In-season regulatory action in those years was needed to restrict depth limits in most areas of the state and also prevented the all-depth fishery from occurring. Following the outcome of the most recent yelloweye stock assessment indicating the population is rebuilding much sooner than expected, the federal limit increased in 2019, allowing the all-depth fishery this year.

California’s rugged north coast offers many opportunities to fish for groundfish from vessels. Launch and harbor facilities for private vessels are available from Fort Bragg to Crescent City but may vary by port and time of year. For those wishing to take a fishing trip on a party or charter vessel, there are multiple businesses offering fishing out of Fort Bragg, Shelter Cove, Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City. An internet search for a specific port and “rockfish fishing” can quickly provide business contact information, scheduling details and cost of trips and gear rentals.

Anglers who take advantage of the deeper depths during November and December may encounter yelloweye rockfish. CDFW continues to recommend anglers avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur. If encountered, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water using best fish handling practices, and anglers should use a descending device in order to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter yelloweye rockfish to change fishing locations to prevent catch of the species.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish website.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Oceanside

At its December 2018 meeting in Oceanside, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the meeting.

The Commission voted unanimously to extend the closure of the recreational red abalone fishery until April 1, 2021. In December 2017, the Commission closed the recreational abalone fishery season due to the declining abalone population because of starvation conditions. The commercial red abalone fishery closed in 1997.

The Commission voted unanimously to approve 15 Experimental Gear Permits to be issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for the purpose of targeting brown box crabs with the goal of authorizing new methods of using existing commercial fishing gear to research potential new fishing opportunities. The Commission also approved a list of terms and conditions to be associated with the permits. A drawing took place following Wednesday’s meeting to identify the order of the fishermen who would receive one of the approved experimental gear permits.

The Commission took action to conform state groundfish regulations with recently adopted federal regulations that largely expanded groundfish opportunity for California recreational groundfish anglers.

CDFW staff gave a presentation on living with coyotes and the Wildlife Watch program, as well as announced the release of the Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Commission Vice President Anthony Williams and Commissioner Russell Burns were present. Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Peter Silva were absent. This was Commission Vice President Anthony Williams’ last meeting. Beginning Jan. 7, 2019, he will begin serving as Legislative Secretary for incoming Governor Gavin Newsom.

The full Commission video and audio minutes, supporting information and a schedule of upcoming meetings are available at www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived video will also be available in the coming days.

The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

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

 

groundfish

Changes to Recreational Groundfish Regulations Effective Aug. 25

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces new recreational fishing restrictions will soon go into effect for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California state line. The changes to the authorized fishing depths described below take effect Saturday, Aug. 25 at 12:01 a.m.

The recreational groundfish fishery depth restrictions will be as follows:

  • Northern Management Area (Oregon/California state line to Cape Mendocino): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth through Dec. 31.
  • Mendocino Management Area (Cape Mendocino to Point Arena): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth through Dec. 31.
  • San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point): Take is prohibited seaward of the 30 fathom depth contour (180 feet) through Dec. 31.
  • Central Management Area (Pigeon Point to Point Conception): Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet) through Dec. 31.
  • Southern Management Area (Point Conception to the U.S./Mexico border): Take is prohibited seaward of the 60 fathom depth contour (360 feet) through Dec. 31. No changes are slated for this area.
  • Note that in the months of November-December, allowable fishing depths in the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas will remain at 20 fathoms, and will not extend to unlimited depths.

The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(a)). The 30, 40 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in Federal regulations (Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, Part 660, Subpart G).

Based on recent bycatch estimates for yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) from the California sport fishery, CDFW projects that the harvest guideline specified in federal regulation for 2018 (3.9 metric tons) will be exceeded unless changes are made. Pursuant to CCR Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make modifications to the fishery to avoid exceeding the limit, and must issue notice of any changes at least 10 days in advance of the effective date.

Yelloweye rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that were declared overfished in 2002 and cannot be retained in the recreational fishery. They are currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan to allow the population to recover, which has required significant cutbacks to west coast sport and commercial fisheries for more than a decade.

CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (e.g., rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status information, fish identification tools and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish Central webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

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Media Contacts:
John Budrick, CDFW Marine Region, (650) 413-1501
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Yelloweye Rockfish

Changes to Recreational Groundfish Regulations Effective Oct. 16

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces new restrictions on recreational fishing for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California border. Changes to authorized fishing depths described below take effect Monday, Oct. 16 at 12:01 a.m., and will remain in place through the remainder of 2017.

The recreational groundfish fishery depth restrictions will be as follows:

  • Northern Management Area (Oregon/California border to Cape Mendocino): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The ‘all-depth’ groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled.
  • Mendocino Management Area (Cape Mendocino to Point Arena): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The ‘all-depth’ groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled.
  • San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point): Take is prohibited seaward of the 30 fathom depth contour (180 feet).
  • Central Management Area (Pigeon Point to Point Conception): Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet).
  • Southern Management Area (Point Conception to the US/Mexico border): Take is prohibited seaward of the 60 fathom depth contour (360 feet). No changes are slated for this area.

The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(a)). The 30, 40 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, part 660, subpart G).

Based on recent bycatch estimates for yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) from the California sport fishery, CDFW projects that the harvest guideline specified in federal regulation for 2017 (3.9 metric tons) will be exceeded unless changes are made. Pursuant to CCR Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make modifications to the fishery to avoid exceeding the limit, and must issue notice of any changes at least 10 days in advance of the effective date.

Yelloweye rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that were declared overfished in 2002 and cannot be retained in the recreational fishery. They are currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan to allow the population to recover, which has required significant cutbacks to west coast sport and commercial fisheries for more than a decade.

Although fishing for rockfish and other groundfish will remain open through the end of the year, CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (e.g., rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status information, fish identification tools, and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

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Media Contacts:
Marci Yaremko, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 442-3004

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

Anglers Reminded to Avoid Yelloweye Rockfish

In anticipation of the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds all anglers to avoid yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) when engaging in recreational ocean fishing.

CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (e.g., rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.

Yelloweye rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that was declared overfished in 2002. They are currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan to allow the population to recover, which has required significant cutbacks to West Coast sport and commercial fisheries for over a decade.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status information, fish identification tools and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

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Media Contacts:
Joanna Grebel, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 601-2279
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 238-2044