CDFW Announces Publication of Rules for Ocean Salmon and Pacific Halibut

New annual federal regulations for ocean salmon and Pacific halibut fisheries for waters off California have taken effect. Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in 85 Federal Register 25317 on May 1, 2020 and were effective April 30, 2020, and ocean salmon regulations were published in 85 Federal Register 27317 on May 8, 2020 and were effective as of May 6, 2020.

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95, ocean salmon and Pacific halibut sport fishing regulations in state waters automatically conform to these new federal regulations.

Both the ocean salmon fishery and the Pacific halibut fishery opened on May 1. Anglers are reminded to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Anglers are also advised to check with local authorities on the status of harbor and access points as site closures and access restrictions may change daily.

The 2020 recreational ocean salmon season dates for the California coast are as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California state line and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open June 6 and will continue through Aug. 9.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, opened May 1 and will continue through Nov. 8.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on May 1 and will continue through Oct. 4.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Pigeon Point. In the Monterey area the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. The daily bag limit is two Chinook salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of coho salmon (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

Next year’s April recreational ocean salmon season has also been determined at this time. In 2021, the recreational ocean salmon season will open April 3 south of Horse Mountain. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in the Fort Bragg management area and 24 inches total length south of Point Arena. The daily bag limit is two Chinook salmon per day. The remainder of the 2021 ocean salmon season will be decided in April of next year.

The 2020 Pacific halibut season is scheduled to be open statewide seven days per week from May 1 through Oct. 31, or until the quota has been met, whichever is earlier. There is no minimum size limit for this species. The daily bag and possession limit is one fish. Again this year, the public can follow the progress of catch through the season on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Pacific halibut web page; however, updates to catch information may be offered less frequently than in prior years.

Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Ocean Salmon and Pacific Halibut Hotlines. Before engaging in any fishing activity for these species, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

Ocean Salmon Resources:

Pacific Halibut Resources:

###

Media Contacts:
Marci Yaremko, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 442-3004
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

May 1 Recreational Ocean Fishery Openings to Proceed as Planned, Anglers Reminded to Strictly Follow State and Local Health Guidelines

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the recreational ocean salmon, groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries scheduled to open May 1 will proceed as planned.

However, anglers are reminded to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Staying home in order to stay healthy is still the best way to keep yourself and others safe. Anglers are also advised to check with local authorities on the status of harbor services and access points as many site closures and access restrictions exist and may change daily.

The ocean salmon fishery will open May 1 in the Fort Bragg, San Francisco and Monterey areas [Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude) to the U.S./Mexico border], while the boat-based groundfish fishery in the Northern and Mendocino management areas [Oregon/California state line to Point Arena (38 °57.5” N. latitude)] will open as well. The groundfish fishery in other California management areas remains open. The Pacific halibut fishery also will open statewide on May 1.

Federal regulations establish recreational fishing seasons for California’s ocean salmon, groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries, following recommendations made by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The California Fish and Game Commission adopts regulations for state waters to match the federal season dates.

Please check the following resources for more information on these fisheries:

###

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

Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Great Start to the Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery

The 2019 recreational Pacific Halibut season is off to a strong start! Since opening day on May 1, many north coast anglers have braved less-than-perfect weather and ocean conditions and were successful in pursuing this highly prized fish. Preliminary catch data available to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) through the first five days of the fishery indicates almost 2,500 pounds of fish were caught.

“This is a level of success more typically seen during the summer months,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Melanie Parker.

Again this year, the public can follow the progress of catch through the season compared to the quota on the CDFW Pacific Halibut webpage, which is updated weekly. The fishery is scheduled to be open through Oct. 31, or until the quota has been met, whichever comes first. The 2019 quota is 39,000 pounds, approximately 8,000 pounds greater than last year.

Up-to-date information on the status of the season can also be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 or the CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

State regulations for Pacific Halibut automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95.  Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in Federal Register 84, section 17960, on April 29, 2019 and took effect as of that date.

###

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

 

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens May 1

The 2019 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open Wednesday, May 1 and remain open until Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2019 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 39,000 pounds – about 8,000 pounds greater than the 2018 quota.

Pacific halibut have become a popular target species for north coast anglers in recent years, with some fish tipping the scales in excess of 80 pounds.

Since 2014, the California sport fishery has been subject to closed periods during the season to slow catches and spread fishing opportunities out over more months, but with the higher quota amount for 2019, the periodic closures aren’t necessary this year. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) conducted an online survey in February to collect input on preferred 2019 season dates.  More than 200 responses were received during the two weeks the survey was available.

The season dates are expected to continue to meet the goal of providing as much opportunity throughout the season while ensuring the quota is attained. The open dates are not guaranteed days, and the season could be closed early if it is determined that projected catches will exceed the California quota.

Again this year, field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boats landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. If the catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, a closure date will be determined and the public will be notified.

The public can follow the progress of catch through the season on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, which will be updated weekly. Up-to-date information can also be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 or the CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

###

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

 

Pacific Halibut and CDFW employee

CDFW Seeks Input on 2019 Recreational Pacific Halibut Season Dates

California anglers who are interested in the recreational Pacific Halibut fishery are invited to participate in an online survey. The data gathered through this survey will help inform the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) about angler preferences for open fishing dates during the upcoming 2019 season, and will be used to develop recommended season dates that will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The survey can be found online through Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

The Pacific Halibut fishery takes place off northern California. In 2018, the fishery was open May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15, and Sept. 1-21. The fishery closed Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m. due to projected attainment of the 30,940 net pound quota. The 2019 quota will be 39,000 net pounds, approximately 8,000 net pounds greater than the 2018 quota.

For more information, please visit the CDFW Pacific Halibut Fishery webpage.

###

Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814

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