Tag Archives: marine

CDFW Invites Public Input on Development of State Coastal Marine Aquaculture Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking public input for a Marine Aquaculture Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that is in preparation and scheduled for completion this year.

The completed PEIR will outline a framework for managing the proposed State Coastal Marine Aquaculture Program, which would oversee the culturing of shellfish, algae and finfish on state water bottom leases issued by the California Fish and Game Commission.

The public scoping process will provide CDFW with guidance in identifying the range of actions analyzed in the PEIR, including environmental effects, methods of assessment, mitigation measures and alternative regulatory management frameworks.

Members of the public, tribes and public agencies are invited to provide comments through April 22. Comments may be submitted by email to AquaculturePEIR@wildlife.ca.gov, or sent via mail to:

Marine Aquaculture PEIR – Scoping Comments
CDFW Aquaculture Program
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA  95811

Interested parties may also attend and provide feedback at one of two public meetings:

Northern California
April 10, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.
Sonoma County Water Agency
404 Aviation Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Directions (Google Maps)

Southern California
April 12, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.
Port of San Diego
3165 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101
Directions (Google Maps)

Additional information, including the full Notice of Preparation, is available on the CDFW Marine Aquaculture PEIR webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Randy Lovell, CDFW Aquaculture Program, (916) 445-2008

Mary Olswang, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-7633
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

A Section of the Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishery Closure around Santa Cruz Island has been Lifted

Today the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham lifted the commercial spiny lobster fishery closure on the south east side of Santa Cruz Island east of 119°40.000’ W. longitude, west of 119° 30.00’ W, and south of 34°00.000’ N. latitude as recommended by state health agencies. According to the notice from the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), sampling of spiny lobster and analysis of samples by California Department of Public Health (CDPH) laboratories indicates that consumption of spiny lobster taken from this area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure.

On Oct. 24, 2017, state health agencies determined that spiny lobster in waters around Anacapa Island, Ventura County and the east end of Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara County had unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended closure of the commercial fishery in this area.

The commercial closure remains in effect in all state waters around the north east end of Santa Cruz Island east of 119°40.000’ W. longitude, west of 119° 30.00’ W, and north of 34°00.000’ N. latitude and south side of Anacapa Island east of 119°30.000’ W, west of 119°20.000’ W, and south of 34°00.000’ N latitude. State waters extend three nautical miles beyond outermost islands, reefs and rocks. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera (tomalley) of spiny lobster taken from the closed area.

This closure shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at CDPH, determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be open in this area. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in spiny lobster to determine when the fishery can safely be opened in the closed area.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions. State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level, which is 20 parts per million in the viscera of spiny lobster.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (12/29/17)

CDFW Declaration (12/29/17)

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

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

Open Area for the Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Now Extends to Pillar Point, San Mateo County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that effective immediately the open area of the commercial rock crab fishery extends northward to Pillar Point, San Mateo County at the recommendation of state health agencies.

  • On Jan. 25 the commercial rock crab fishery is open from 37° 30′ N. Lat. (Pillar Point San Mateo County) south to the California/Mexico border.

At the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted to the Office of Administrative Law an emergency rulemaking to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County. State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera. Because of this, on Nov. 8, OEHHA, in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), recommended to CDFW to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught north of Pillar Point, San Mateo County.

Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pillar Point shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the Director of CDPH, determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be open. In the meantime, CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that rock crabs from Point Reyes had elevated levels of domoic acid in their viscera. 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.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (1/25/2017)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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

North Coast Abalone Season Dates, Regulations Change

Regulations for California’s popular red abalone sport fishery have changed in 2017. Due to concerns about the declining population, the season will be shortened and the take limit reduced.

The 2017 season will be shortened by two months, with the traditional opening date of April 1 now delayed until May 1. The fishery will also close a month earlier than usual, on Oct. 31.

The annual (calendar year) limit is changing from 18 abalone to 12. As in the past, no more than nine abalone may be taken south of the boundary between Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The red abalone catch is being reduced because surveys conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) found that red abalone populations in deeper waters are on the decline due to unfavorable environmental conditions. Over the past three years, growth of kelp — a major food source for abalone – has declined significantly. Dramatic increases in purple sea urchin populations have further reduced the food available for abalone. Details can be found at https://cdfwmarine.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/perfect-storm-decimates-kelp/.

Other regulations relative to abalone remain unchanged. Fishing for abalone will be allowed from 8 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset in waters north of San Francisco Bay. People may travel to fishing locations before 8 a.m. but may not actively search for or take any abalone before that time. The daily bag and possession limit remains at three. Parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park remain closed to the take of abalone. A map of the closed area can be found online at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true.

Northern California’s recreational red abalone fishery is enjoyed by tens of thousands of divers along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. A recent CDFW study estimated that approximately 31,000 abalone divers derived between $24 million and $44 million per year of recreational value from the fishery. The value of this fishery declined nearly $12 million after stricter regulations were imposed in 2014 following a harmful algal bloom that killed thousands of abalone in Sonoma County. Information about the study can be found at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=136510.

The changes to the abalone regulations were approved by the Fish and Game Commission at their Dec. 7 meeting, under emergency rulemaking provisions that allow fast-tracking of the approval process when there is an urgent need for regulatory change.

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

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