Tag Archives: recreational

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

 

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens May 1

California’s recreational Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) fishery season will open May 1. This year the fishery will be held to a federally established quota of 29,640 pounds. The open season dates will be May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The open and closed periods are intended to spread fishing opportunities from spring through fall. Anglers are limited to one rod and two hooks while fishing for Pacific halibut.

Again this year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. CDFW will examine observed catch information and compare it with expected catch rates. As the season progresses, CDFW will confer with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and International Pacific Halibut Commission on expected quota attainment. If the cumulative catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, NMFS will close the fishery.

The 2016 quota is an increase of 4,420 pounds over the 2015 quota.

The public can follow the progress of catch through the season by viewing the Pacific halibut thermometer on the CDFW Pacific halibut website, which will be updated weekly with the latest catch projection information.

Anglers in northern California are also advised to check the open season dates for ocean salmon when planning fishing activity in the Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City port areas. Due to the low forecasted ocean abundance of Klamath River Fall Chinook, periodic recreational salmon closures have been implemented in these areas for 2016.  During May, June and July, anglers will have the opportunity to target either Pacific halibut or ocean salmon, but not both species concurrently.

Pacific halibut are more common off the northern California coast and should not be confused with California halibut (Paralichthys californicus). Before engaging in any fishing activity for Pacific halibut, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date regulations:

  • National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline, (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, (831) 649-2801
  • CDFW Pacific halibut website

 

Media Contacts:
Caroline McKnight, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-7192
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Emergency Crab Closure Recommended, Commission to Meet Thursday

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a health advisory warning individuals to avoid eating rock and Dungeness crab due to the detection of high levels of domoic acid. The advisory was followed by a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to the California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to delay the start of the Dungeness crab season and close the rock crab fishery. These actions would apply to each fishery from the Oregon border to the southern Santa Barbara County line.

The OEHHA recommendation has prompted an emergency meeting of the Commission, which will take place at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 (agenda and meeting information). At that time, the Commission will consider voting to delay the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery. The recreational Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Saturday, Nov. 7.

Also based on the recommendation from OEHHA, CDFW will act on its authority to delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season. The commercial Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Sunday, Nov. 15 in most of the state.

Similar action will be considered by the Commission and CDFW to close the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in the affected area. Both recreational and commercial rock crab seasons are open all year.

“These are incredibly important fisheries to our coastal economies and fresh crab is highly anticipated and widely enjoyed this time of year. Of course, delaying or closing the season is disappointing,” said CDFW Marine Regional Manager Craig Shuman. “But public health and safety is our top priority.”

CDFW, along with the OEHHA and CDPH, has been actively testing crabs since early September. OEHHA announced today that consumption of Dungeness and rock crabs is likely to pose a significant human health risk as a result of high levels of domoic acid. CDFW will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries 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.

Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California’s coast. State scientists have been testing crab from eight fishing ports from Morro Bay to Crescent City, and have determined that the neurotoxin has spread throughout the fishery grounds.

Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures associated with the El Niño event California is experiencing is likely a major contributing factor to the size and persistence of this bloom.

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