Changes to Recreational Groundfish Rules Set for May 1


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Posted by Chris on April 09, 2004 at 22:48:29:

Department of Fish and Game
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04:035 April 9, 2004

Contacts:
Tom Barnes, Marine Region, (858) 546-7167
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, Marine Region, (831) 649-2892

In-season Changes to Recreational Groundfish Rules Set for May 1

Following federal action taken by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the California
Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will recommend to the Fish and Game Commission changes to the 2004
recreational fishing regulations regarding retention of black rockfish at its April 22
teleconference meeting in Sacramento. At the meeting, the Commission will consider taking emergency action to
ensure that state regulations remain consistent with the new federal regulations that will
prohibit retention of black rockfish during May, and from September through December in ocean waters less
than 30 fathoms (180 feet) from Cape Mendocino to the California-Oregon border.

In addition, the state will take conforming action affecting California's recreational fishery for
federal groundfish and some state managed species. These changes will take effect May 1, 2004 and
are necessary to conform to in-season groundfish management actions taken by the PFMC the week of
April 5 that will take effect on May 1, 2004. The PFMC's actions prohibit fishing at certain times
and depths in specific areas in ocean waters off California. For detailed information on the
PFMC's actions, log on to www.pcouncil.org.

The recreational fisheries affected by this action include those for rockfish, cabezon,
greenlings, California scorpionfish, lingcod, some flatfish, some sharks, and other federally managed
groundfish species. For the full list of federally managed species, check the Marine Region Web site at
www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/groundfish_fedlist.html.

The state will apply the same restrictions to ocean whitefish and California sheephead, which are
not under federal management. Fish excluded from this action are leopard shark in San Francisco
Bay waters, and sanddabs. The new regulations will apply to recreational anglers fishing in all
waters off California. However divers and shore-based anglers will be exempt.

The in-season changes were adopted April 8 by the PFMC and subsequently by the DFG after review of
projected fishery catches through 2004. Those projected catches showed that harvest limits for
canary and black rockfish would have been met or exceeded well before the end of the year without
these adjustments.

"The federal regulations, which the state conforms to, ensure resource protection and
sustainability. This is in the interest not just of the federal fisheries agencies, but the states as well,"
said DFG Marine Regional Manager Patty Wolf.

For California's recreational anglers, the following changes include new depth regulations and
season dates and will take effect on May 1:

Northern Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area - Oregon border to just south of Cape Mendocino.
* Fishing only allowed in waters less than 180 feet (30 fathoms) deep from May through December

Central Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area - just south of Cape Mendocino to Pt. Conception
NOTE: Federal regulations have split this area into two sections at 36 degrees north latitude,
near Pt. Lopez in southern Monterey County.

North-Central Section - just south of Cape Mendocino to near Pt. Lopez.
* No fishing during May through July, and November through December
* Fishing only allowed in waters less than 120 feet (20 fathoms) during September through October

South-Central Section - near Lopez Pt. to Pt. Conception.
* Fishing only allowed in waters less than 120 feet (20 fathoms) during September through December
* No fishing during July

Southern Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area - Pt. Conception to the U.S.-Mexico border.
* Fishing only allowed in waters less than 180 feet (30 fathoms) deep during September through
October
* Cowcod Conservation Areas regulations remain the same.

The restrictions listed above will also apply to greenlings, ocean whitefish, and California
sheephead.

Fishing for sanddabs using gear specified in federal and state regulations is still allowed.
Fishing for leopard shark in waters within San Francisco Bay is allowed. Divers and shore-based
anglers may continue fishing.

The sport fishing regulation changes are not official until they are filed with the Secretary of
State. DFG will post any updated information on the fishing season on its Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd.



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