Tag Archives: ocean

Commission Closes Recreational Razor Clam Fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

The California Fish and Game Commission on Monday voted 3-0 in favor of an emergency rulemaking to prohibit recreational take and possession of razor clam from Humboldt and Del Norte county beaches. The closure is now in effect. Closure of the fishery 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 no longer recommends the fishery be closed. 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will maintain a list of closed beaches of the state and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1 p.m. It shall be the responsibility of any person prior to taking razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte counties to call CDFW’s hotline (831) 649-2883 or visit CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories to obtain the current status of any ocean beach in those counties. 

A CDPH health advisory has been in effect for razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte counties since August 2015 due to elevated domoic acid levels. Results from the most recent tests showed that the health risk to humans from consumption of razor clams remains significant, prompting CDPH to reissue a health advisory on April 20. OEHHA followed that with a recommendation for fishery closure. The domoic acid present in razor clams remains from the massive toxic algal bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia that occurred last year in the Pacific Ocean. Algal blooms are common, but this one was particularly large and persistent.  CDPH has advised that razor clams are known to retain domoic acid for long periods of time, in some cases more than a year.

CDFW will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in razor clams along the north coast to determine when the fishery 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.
OEHHA Memo 4/20/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122446&inline

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

 

 

Salmon Seasons Set for Ocean and Inland Waters

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted recreational ocean and inland salmon season regulations as presented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on April 18. Ocean salmon season dates and management measures are set to coincide with the alternatives adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council for federal waters off the California coast. Inland river seasons adopted by the Commission are identical to the 2015 seasons with the exception of a reduction in the allowable harvest of Klamath Basin Chinook salmon.

“Reduced fishing opportunity in the ocean and inland areas are a reflection of lower abundance for some California salmon stocks as compared to recent years, likely as a result of extended drought and generally unfavorable ocean conditions for salmon survival,” said Jennifer Simon, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Marine Region Salmon Team. “The 2016 seasons are intended to allow limited fishing opportunity on stocks that can support them while providing increased protection for the most vulnerable of stocks.”

An expected ocean abundance of roughly 300,000 Sacramento River fall Chinook (compared to 650,000 last year) will support recreational and commercial opportunities for ocean salmon fisheries off portions of California and Oregon. A projected return of 151,000 spawning adults allows for an inland river recreational harvest of 24,600 adult Chinook.

The Klamath River fall Chinook ocean abundance forecast of 142,200 adults is substantially lower than recent years and the primary reason for ocean fishery constraints. A projected return of 30,909 natural area spawning adults allows for an inland river recreational harvest quota of 1,110 adult Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches. In 2015 the harvest quota was 14,133.

The resulting bag and possession limits and seasons adopted by the Commission are as follows:

Central Valley Rivers:

Daily limit of two fish per day and a possession limit of four fish. On the American and Feather rivers the general season opener is July 16. On the Sacramento River below Deschutes Road Bridge to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the season opens Aug. 1 and closes Dec. 16. From below the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to the Carquinez Bridge, the season opens July 16 and closes Dec. 16. Please see the 2016 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet for openings and closing of specific sections of each river, as well as gear restrictions.

Klamath River:

Daily limit of two fish per day of which only one may be greater than 22 inches, and the possession limit is six fish of which only three may be greater than 22 inches. The Klamath River fall Chinook season opens Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31, while the Trinity River opens to salmon fishing on Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

Ocean Salmon: 

Ocean salmon recreational fisheries include a daily limit of two adult Chinook salmon with four in possession on land with varying size restrictions depending on the area. Season dates include openings in May, June, July, August and the Labor Day weekend in the Crescent City/Eureka area. Fisheries further south opened on April 2 and will continue through Nov. 13 in the Fort Bragg area, through Oct. 31 in the San Francisco area, through July 15 from Pigeon Point to Point Sur, and through May 31 south of Point Sur. For a more in-depth look at ocean salmon seasons and restrictions, please see  www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon.

Long-running drought conditions, coupled with suboptimal ocean conditions, have raised serious concerns for Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and have experienced very low survival as juveniles in 2014 and 2015. Fisheries south of Point Arena, particularly recreational fisheries in the greater Monterey Bay region, continue to experience late-season reductions in 2016 to minimize interactions with winter Chinook.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Simon, CDFW Salmon Team, (707) 576-2878
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Announces Latest Dungeness and Rock Crab Openings, Closures

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor entrance) to the California/Mexico border. The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is now open south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude at the northern jetty of Humboldt Bay, Humboldt County to the California/Mexico border, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

Recent test results show that domoic acid levels in rock crab in Monterey and Dungeness crabs south of Humboldt Bay entrance and in Mendocino County no longer pose a significant human health risk, according to notice given today to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) by the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A closure for the recreational rock crab fishery remains in place north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below) while a closure for the recreational Dungeness crab fishery remains in place north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below). The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line.

The recreational Dungeness crab season in Humboldt and Mendocino counties is scheduled to end July 30 under regular open season regulations in the newly opened area while in counties south of Mendocino County, the recreational season closes on June 30.

Despite several weeks of test results that showed samples below alert levels, as a precaution, CDPH and OEHHA recommend that anglers and consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH and OEHHA are also recommending that water or broth used to cook whole crabs be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. This precaution is being recommended to avoid harm in the unlikely event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Commission and CDFW on November 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

 

Areas open to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, at the Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor Entrance)

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open in state waters of the Channel Islands except for an exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below)

 

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, near Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude and in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.;

(2) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(3) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(4) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.; and

(5) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.

 

CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to extensively monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and rock crabs to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened throughout the state.

OEHHA Rock Crab Memo 4/22/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122565&inline

OEHHA Dungeness Crad Memo 4/22/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122566&inline

 

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

Possible Recreational Razor Clam Closure in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) re-issued a health advisory reminding individuals to avoid eating recreationally harvested razor clams along Humboldt and Del Norte county beaches due to elevated domoic acid levels. This advisory was followed by a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to close the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

The OEHHA recommendation has prompted an emergency meeting of the Commission, scheduled to take place Monday, April 25 (detailed agenda to be posted at www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings). At that time, the Commission will consider whether to close the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

Razor clams tested from Humboldt and Del Norte counties showed domoic acid levels significantly above the federal action level of 20 parts per million (ppm) with all but one of the samples (17 out of 18) exceeding that action level. One third of the samples taken showed levels above 100 ppm. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in razor clams along the coast to determine when the fishery 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.

OEHHA Memo 4/20/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122446&inline

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

 

Anglers, Management Agencies Grapple with Poor 2016 Salmon Forecasts

At the annual salmon informational meeting held in Santa Rosa today, state and federal fishery scientists presented updates on the numbers of spawning salmon, and the expected abundance for the upcoming fishing season. Forecasts suggest there are 299,600 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in the ocean this year, along with 142,200 adults from the Klamath River fall Chinook run. Both forecasts are lower compared to the previous few years. Salmon from these runs comprise the majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.

“The forecasts are lower than in recent years and suggest that California fisheries may see salmon seasons in 2016 that have reduced opportunities over last year,” said Brett Kormos, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

These forecasts, in addition to information on endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, will be used over the next few months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas and size and bag limits.

Chinook salmon that will be harvested in ocean fisheries in 2016 hatched two to four years ago, and may have been impacted by poor river conditions driven by California’s ongoing drought. Once in the ocean, the fish experienced El Niño conditions, which are not favorable for salmon or its prey.

Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Fish and Game Commission over the next few months. For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website or call the salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429.

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Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, CDFW Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2878
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169