Tag Archives: news

Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishery Closed at Anacapa Island and the East End of Santa Cruz Island Due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has enacted a commercial spiny lobster fishery closure effective immediately.

State health agencies determined that spiny lobster near 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. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera (tomalley) of spiny lobster.

The commercial closure includes all state waters around Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands east of 119° 40.000’ W. longitude, and west of 119° 20.000’ W. longitude. State waters extend three nautical miles beyond outermost islands, reefs and rocks.

This closure 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 CDPH, determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be open. 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.

Pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 5523, the Director of CDFW will notify the Fish and Game Commission of the closure and request that the Commission schedule a public discussion of the closure at its next scheduled meeting.

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:
Advisory from CDPH (10/24/2017)

Memo from OEHHA (10/24/17)

CDFW Declaration of Fisheries Closure (10/24/2017)


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

New Laws Enhance Poaching Penalties to Better Protect Wildlife

As many big game hunting seasons progress into the fall, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers have a new tool to deter poaching and punish violators for serious poaching crimes.

Legislation sponsored by the wildlife conservation community approved enhancements of penalties for the illegal take of trophy-class animals. Under Fish and Game Code (FGC) section 12013.3 penalties are significantly enhanced for any person convicted of poaching deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and wild turkey with certain characteristics that would define them as trophy game animal.

In addition to the legislation that enhanced poaching penalties, the California Fish and Game Commission developed regulations to define those trophy characteristics. Commissioners worked with the CDFW and several outdoors, conservation and hunting organizations to define the characteristics in California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, section 748.6. The legislation and regulation package went into full effect on July 1, 2017.

In summary, “…the punishment for a person who knowingly violated and has been convicted of [take out of season, spotlighting, baiting, waste of meat, or take without a tag]… where the violation involved a trophy… deer, elk, antelope, or bighorn sheep shall be a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) nor more than forty thousand dollars ($40,000), and where the violation involved a wild turkey, a fine of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or both that fine and imprisonment.”

“The first case adjudicated after the trophy law took effect exemplifies the potential benefits this enhancement law could have on wildlife protection,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division.

On July 5, 2017, Garrett Thomas Peacock, 22, of Yuba City, was sentenced to two years’ probation with a restriction from hunting during that time and ordered to pay $5,150 in fines and penalties. The case began months prior when wildlife officers, acting upon an anonymous CalTIP (Californians Turn in Poacher and Polluters), contacted Peacock during a follow-up investigation. The investigation revealed that Peacock unlawfully killed a trophy class “buck” deer without permission in an orchard on private property in Maxwell in Colusa County. Peacock did not possess the required deer tag at the time of the killing. Officers recovered photographic evidence, deer antlers, numerous packages of meat and a deer tag purchased after the fact from Peacock.

“Unlawfully targeting animals for their trophy qualities is an egregious violation,” said Chief Bess.  “Under the enhanced penalties of this law, the punishment will more closely match the severity of these types of poaching crimes.”

Anyone with information about unlawful fishing, hunting or pollution is encouraged to contact CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. The CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, is printed on the back of every hunting and fishing license. Tips can also be relayed by text to 847411 (tip411). Text messages allow for a two-way conversation with wildlife officers, while preserving the anonymity of the tipster. Texts should begin with the word “CALTIP,” followed by a space and the message. There is also an app for smartphones that works similarly. For more information on the program and the CalTIP app, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.

Media Contact:
Captain Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day by Getting Outdoors

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are joining to celebrate California’s long-standing outdoor heritage and the contributions made to wildlife conservation by hunters and anglers on National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Saturday, Sept. 23 is National Hunting and Fishing Day and California hunting and fishing seasons are in full swing. Currently deer, bear, grouse, early mountain quail, rabbit, and tree squirrel seasons are underway across the state. The high country streams, rivers and lakes are in peak form. This is prime time.

Together, CDFW and BLM are proud to promote the excellent hunting and fishing opportunities available on public lands. BLM-managed public lands in California offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating and backcountry exploring. Millions of acres of public land are available for hunting and thousands of miles of rivers and streams are available for fishing in California. CDFW is responsible for over 1 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat, managed through 749 properties throughout the state. These properties provide habitat for a rich diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species.

Hunters and anglers are advised to check area closures and local restrictions before heading out. Fire season is here and several large wildfires are burning currently, which may close some areas to hunting and fishing. Additionally, the severe winter damaged roads, which may account for other closures or restricted access. Information on area closures is available at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts.

While current target shooting restrictions are in place on some BLM-managed public lands, hunting in those areas is open with a valid hunting license. For updates on BLM restrictions visit: blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/california/fire-restrictions.

For the 2016 season, a record 84 percent of deer tag holders complied with California’s new mandatory deer tag reporting requirement. CDFW thanks all those who reported and hopes for increased participation following the 2017 season. The reports are vital to estimating deer populations and setting tag quotas for the coming hunting season.

California is phasing-in the use of non-lead ammunition for hunting. Lead ammunition is permitted in 2017 for hunting deer in California outside of the California condor range, state wildlife areas or ecological reserves where non-lead ammunition is required. Learn more about California’s phase-in of nonlead ammunition for hunting by visiting wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Nonlead-Ammunition.

Hunters and anglers are often referred to as the original conservationists. CDFW and BLM value the many contributions they make to fish and wildlife conservation efforts in the Golden State.

For more information about California’s hunting and fishing seasons, licenses and tags, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov.

For more information about BLM lands and outdoor activities, please visit www.blm.gov/california.

Media Contacts:
Samantha Storms, BLM Communications, (916) 978-4615
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

California’s General Deer Season Opens Sept. 16 Across Much of the State; Hunters Advised to Check Area Closures Before Heading Out

Deer season is already underway in California’s A and B4 deer hunting zones along the coast, but the majority of general zones – B1-B3, B5, B6, C1-C4, D6 and D7 – open Saturday, Sept. 16.

Several other deer hunting zones – D3-D5 and D8-D10 – open the following week, on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Severe winter weather conditions took a toll on some migratory deer populations and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reduced the number of tags for a few popular areas in order to sustain herds over the long term. Not all populations suffered heavy winter losses, however, and CDFW’s trail cameras and fecal DNA studies revealed bucks out there for the taking.

“One benefit from the above-average rain and snowfall this winter is that we did see an early green-up,” said Stuart Itoga, senior environmental scientist and the CDFW’s deer program coordinator. “Plentiful forage and water are generally helping deer populations recover from multiple years of drought.”

Detailed information on California’s various deer zones, including season dates, descriptions and maps, is available at CDFW’s Deer Hunting webpage: www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Deer#54773-seasons.

Hunters are strongly advised to check area closures and local restrictions before heading out. Fire season is here and several large wildfires are burning currently, which may close some areas to hunting. Additionally, the severe winter damaged roads in some areas, which may account for other closures or restricted access. Information on area closures is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts.

For the 2016 season, a record 84 percent of deer tag holders complied with California’s new mandatory deer tag reporting requirement. CDFW thanks all those who reported and hopes for increased participation following the 2017 season. The reports are vital to estimating populations and setting tag quotas for the coming hunting season. Tags can be reported online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/CustomerSearch/Begin. Tag holders may also submit reports by mail to CDFW Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002.

California is phasing-in the use of nonlead ammunition for hunting. Lead ammunition is permitted for hunting deer in California in 2017 outside of the California condor range, state wildlife areas or ecological reserves where nonlead ammunition is required. Learn more about California’s phase-in of nonlead ammunition for hunting at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Nonlead-Ammunition.

Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908


CDFW photo by Stuart Itoga

California Department of Fish and Game Names Top Stories and Accomplishments for 2011

Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908

2011 was anything but quiet for the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). Pesky bears, a roaming gray wolf, significant poaching arrests, tsunami relief work and dramatic wildlife rescues were among the stories that captured the public’s attention. DFG also welcomed new Director Charlton H. Bonham, who was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in August.

“California’s long tradition of hunting and fishing is being preserved by the hardworking men and women at DFG– environmental scientists, wardens, interpreters and many others who dedicate themselves to DFG’s mission to protect the state’s plant, fish and wildlife resources,” Director Bonham said. “We also owe thanks to our outstanding volunteer force, including 850 volunteer hunter education instructors who taught approximately 21,000 students in 2011. I can’t express the gratitude I have for hard work and accomplishments everyone has made over the past 12 months, and I am so proud to be leading this organization into 2012.”

The following stories were some of the most closely watched and widely covered:

1. OR7 – A Lone Wolf Makes its Way into California
DFG has long been following the recovery and migration of gray wolves in western states. One wolf in particular, nicknamed OR7, was equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) device that periodically transmits its location. On Dec. 28, OR7 made history when he officially crossed the state line into California. More details can be found here: http://bit.ly/uG6mMP

2. Tahoe Bears Make Their Film Debut
California is home to more than 40,000 black bears, some of whom continue to stir up trouble in Lake Tahoe. In 2011, DFGstaff logged more than 4,000 hours handling black bear nuisance issues in that region alone. To help educate the public about keeping black bears wild and preventing them from becoming habituated to humans, DFG launched its first-ever “Bear Aware” Youth Film Contest to solicit short films that effectively convey the “Keep Me Wild” message. Winners will be announced in spring 2012. More details can be found here: http://bit.ly/ufzASx

3. Tsunami Relief Efforts Along the Pacific Coast
DFG’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) deployed numerous staff to Santa Cruz and Crescent Cityin February to assist the U.S. Coast Guard with relief efforts after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan caused a tsunami to rock California’s coast. The tsunami and its surges sank 18 boats and damaged 100 more in Santa Cruz. Crescent Citywas evacuated, 16 vessels sank and the majority of moorings and docks in the harbor were destroyed. The sunken vessels presented a pollution hazard as many sank with fuel on board. In Santa Cruz, most of the pleasure boats carried small fuel amounts. In Crescent City, where commercial fishing vessels and other large vessels were berthed, responders removed more than 1,400 gallons of petroleum product and more than 1,460 cubic yards of oil debris. Crews monitored for wildlife impacts from oil but none were reported at either location.

4. The Return of Salmon Fishing
Following years of record low returns and closed salmon seasons, 2011 marked the restoration of the state’s salmon fishing season, which had been closed since 2008. Both the California Fish and Game Commission and the Pacific Fishery Management Council approved the April 2 opening date based on scientific information suggesting that the Sacramento River Fall Chinook ocean population size was at more than 700,000 fish — almost triple the 2010 forecast. More details can be found here: http://bit.ly/tWHGLe

5. The Return of the Pacific Fishers to the Northern California
In an effort to repopulate this once-abundant species, scientists from DFG, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and North Carolina State University, along with Sierra Pacific Industries, released Pacific Fishers in the mountains east of Chico where they are believed to have been absent for nearly a century. More details can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/rqiFEd

6. DFG Law Enforcement K-9 Takes on Marijuana Cultivators
Marijuana grows are not only in remote Sierra canyons but in the middle of the Sacramento      Valley, and the cultivators responsible threaten members of the public, poach fish and wildlife, pollute the land and streams, and damage habitat. Warden Brian Boyd and his K-9 partner, Phebe, have an exceptional technique for catching growers in the act. Since they were first paired three years ago, the duo has arrested 40 marijuana cultivators at grow sites. More information can be found here: http://bit.ly/wCUNh5

7. Poaching Arrests
In Redondo Beach, many poachers felt the squeeze including five men who poached 132 lobsters, many of them below the minimum size limit, from the King Harbor Jetty prior to the season opener. Wardens also cracked down on the practice of poaching juvenile salmon for use as bait to catch sturgeon and striped bass inCentral Valley rivers. Dozens of citations were issued for this offense, with the worst offender being found in possession of 59 juvenile salmon. And in Petaluma, serial offender Qiong Wang, 31, was caught poaching abalone no fewer than three times in three weeks.

8. DFG Debuts New MPA Mobile Website
Keeping up with mobile world, DFG eagerly announced its new Marine Protected Area (MPA) mobile website in September. By allowing anglers, divers and other ocean users to tell whether or not they’re in an MPA, look up current information about restricted areas and boundaries from smartphones and other portable Internet-enabled, GPS-equipped devices, this tool will save anglers time and money while they are on California’s ocean waters or shores. More details can be found here: http://bit.ly/qHf7f1

9. OSPR Deepwater Horizon and Yellowstone assistance
OSPR provided support to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the oil spill in Yellowstone National Park. Experts in natural resource damage assessment, shoreline cleanup assessment, alternative response technologies and geographical information systems were deployed. Overall, more than 70 DFGand OSPR staff served rotations on the Gulf spill. And in a response to a mutual aid request from Montana, OSPR deployed staff to the Yellowstone River spill to assist following a pipeline break on July 1.

10.  Wardens Assist Wildlife in Peril
DFG wardens provided assistance to several injured and trapped wild animals in 2011. Two of the most widely publicized cases included a turkey that was found with an arrow protruding from it in Davis, and a young buck that got its antlers tangled in a rope swing. In both cases, intervention by DFG saved the animal’s life. More details on the Davis turkey can be found here: http://bit.ly/ulNwUo