NOAA Fisheries announces routine inseason adjustments to management measures in California recreational groundfish fisheries. This action, which was recommended to NOAA Fisheries by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at its September 2018 meeting, is intended to allow recreational fishing vessels to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.
At the September Council meeting, the Council was informed that Oregon and California are experiencing higher than projected recreational harvest of yelloweye rockfish. The higher than projected harvest has likely been the result of more favorable weather conditions experienced over the past few months, as well as increased targeting of rockfish due to a decline in salmon harvesting opportunities. The most recent estimates indicate that catch may approach or exceed both the Oregon and California Federal recreational harvest guidelines (HG) for yelloweye rockfish for the 2018 fishing year. Yelloweye rockfish is currently rebuilding, but no longer overfished.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will take action through its state inseason process to address the higher than anticipated catch of yelloweye rockfish. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) took action on August 25, 2018, through public notice, to reduce recreational fishing impacts on yelloweye rockfish through restrictions on recreational fishing depth north of Point Conception. The modifications to federal regulations made by NOAA Fisheries through this inseason notice are needed to conform with the action already taken by CDFW.
Therefore, as recommended by the Council, NOAA Fisheries is implementing, through modifications to regulations at 50 CFR 660.360(c)(3)(i)(A), more restrictive depth limits for California recreational fishing management areas as follows:
|Northern-Between 42° N. lat. (California/Oregon border) and 40°10′ N. lat||CLOSED||May 1-Sept 26, <30 fm||Sept 27-Dec 31, <20 fm|
|Mendocino-Between 40°10′ N. lat. and 38°57.50′ N. lat.||CLOSED||May 1-Dec 31, <20 fm|
|San Francisco-Between 38°57.50′ N. lat. and 37°11′ N. lat.||CLOSED||April 15-Sept 26, <40 fm||Sept 27-Dec 31, <30 fm|
|Central-Between 37°11′ N. lat. and 34°27′ N. lat.||CLOSED||April 1-Sept 26, <50 fm||Sept 27-Dec 31, <40 fm|
|Southern-South of 34°27′ N. lat.||CLOSED||March 1-December 31, <60 fm|