Understanding Depth Limits in the Recreational Groundfish Fishery

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California Groundfish Management Areas  map by CDFW Marine Region GIS Lab

New recreational groundfish regulations went into effect in 2017, including changes to depth limits in some areas of the state. These changes provide more opportunity than before, opening areas that have been closed for many years.

With the regulation changes have come questions from the public asking for clarification regarding how depths are defined. We hope the explanation provided here will enable all California sportsmen and women to understand and follow the depth limit regulations.

Since 2002, Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) have been used to close waters of certain depths to fishing for groundfish. The RCAs were established to help protect and rebuild overfished stocks, by prohibiting groundfish fishing in places where these stocks are most frequently encountered. Continue reading

2016 CDFW Aerial Kelp Canopy Survey Results Now Available Online

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Kelp depicted in Administrative Kelp Bed #208, White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area, in 2016. CDFW image

The results of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW’s) 2016 aerial kelp survey are now available online. The 2016 survey covered both the full California mainland coast and the Channel Islands in Southern California.

Comparisons of the 2015 kelp canopy and the 2016 survey results show that both the south coast mainland and the Channel Islands experienced a decrease in kelp in 2016. The south coast mainland had almost half the canopy level surveyed in 2015, whereas the 2016 kelp canopy in the central through north coast Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Arena State Marine Reserve and State Marine Conservation Area

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Point Arena Lighthouse and Point Arena State Marine Reserve   photo by R. Win

Occasionally warm and sunny, but more often cool and shrouded in a layer of fog, the Point Arena headland is a uniquely beautiful and ecologically important site on California’s northern coast. Located five miles north of its namesake town and 150 miles north of San Francisco, the waters off Point Arena are part of a major upwelling zone Continue reading

Management Update for Southern California Marine Protected Areas

On April 27, 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) presented our five-year management review regarding the south coast marine protected areas (MPAs) alongside the State of the California South Coast report to the California Fish and Game Commission. At the Commission meeting, CDFW recommended that no regulatory changes be made at this time, Continue reading