Lingcod size limit changes to 30" on April 1

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Posted by Chris on March 23, 2004 at 14:48:26:

Recreational Lingcod Regulations to Change April 1

The California Fish and Game Commission voted to take emergency action to change California state regulations governing the recreational harvest of lingcod in order to conform to new federal regulations going into effect on April 1. The new regulations will increase the lingcod minimum size limit to 30 inches, reduce the daily bag limit to one fish, and prohibit take during November and December.

The need for additional measures was determined by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC), and recommended to the National Marine Fisheries Service, in part from new information on fishing success during the last part of 2003, which was not available to fishery managers when the current regulations were established.

The PFMC and the DFG anticipate that by increasing the minimum size limit, reducing the allowable daily bag limit to one lingcod per person, and shortening the season, California's lingcod catches will be held to the allotted amount for the recreational fishery. Current regulations allow two fish per person at a minimum size of 24 inches.

"These conformance actions by the Commission ensure that state and federal rules for these species are consistent and enforceable," said DFG Marine Regional Manager Patty Wolf. "Most importantly, the federal regulations to which the state conforms are enacted in order to ensure resource protection and sustainability, which is in the interest not just of the federal fisheries agencies, but the states as well."

Under existing law, the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council manages and regulates 82 species of groundfish including rockfish, lingcod, California scorpionfish, some flatfish, and some sharks in waters off the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Under California law, the Commission regulates sport fishing in California waters (three miles off the coast) for all species, including those managed under federally adopted fisheries management plans and those which are not.

The regulation changes are necessary to ensure that catches of lingcod in California remain at or within the coastwide acceptable harvest levels. The lingcod stock off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington has been formally classified as overfished by the PFMC, and is currently managed under a rebuilding plan to achieve recovery of the stock. A key element of the rebuilding plan is to constrain catches to levels that allow the stock to increase to a healthy level within a specified period of time. In 2002 and 2003, coastwide lingcod catches exceeded allowable levels needed to achieve rebuilding of the stock.

Carrie Wilson, Marine Region, (831) 649-7191
Marci Yaremko, Marine Region, (805) 568-1220

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