The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is announcing several changes to recreational groundfish regulations that apply to state waters, zero to three miles from shore. The new recreational regulations were adopted by the Fish and Game Commission and will take effect on March 1, 2013.
The open season dates and allowable fishing depths for the recreational Groundfish Management Areas are as follows:
o Northern - open May 15 through Oct. 31, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less.
o Mendocino - open May 15 through Labor Day, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less.
o San Francisco - open June 1 through Dec. 31, in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less.
o Central- open May 1 through Dec. 31, in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less.
o Southern - open March 1 through Dec. 31, in 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less.
Additionally, anglers will now have the ability to retain shelf rockfish while fishing inside the Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) in waters shallower than 20 fathoms.
"Department staff worked closely with the public for more than four years to implement this change," said Marci Yaremko, State/Federal Fisheries program manager. "Allowing retention of shelf rockfish inside the CCAs when the groundfish season is open will reduce discarding without impacting cowcod. It also simplifies regulations by allowing shelf rockfish take and retention both inside and outside the CCAs."
Take and possession of bronze-spotted rockfish, canary rockfish, cowcod and yellow-eye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.
Other changes to regulations pertain to bocaccio rockfish and include:
o An increase in the sub-bag limit to three fish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex bag limit.
o Removal of the minimum size limit and fillet length limit.
For more information about recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or check the CDFW Marine Region website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine.