New California Sheephead Fillet-at-Sea Regulation Now in Effect

Southern and Central California anglers will want to be aware that regulations have changed for California Sheephead. At its February 2019 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted regulatory changes to amend California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 27.65(b) by adding a new California Sheephead fillet regulation.

This rulemaking by the Commission adds a 6¾-inch minimum fillet length and requires that the entire skin remain intact, allowing legal-sized California Sheephead to be filleted on board vessels while at sea and brought ashore as fillets.

The regulation went into effect April 1, 2019 and will be listed in the supplemental sport fishing regulations booklet, along with updated regulations for ocean salmon, Pacific Halibut, Canary Rockfish, and Black Rockfish.

Net full of California Sheephead taken from commercial fish traps to be measured and filleted to inform the new regulation (commercial vessel behind).
photo by Gary C. Graham

The new regulation resulted from collaborative efforts between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Sportfishing Association of California. “It was a pleasure to work collaboratively on a regulation motivated by the angling community and industry. The resources and effort provided by the Sportfishing Association of California were invaluable in collecting the data necessary to inform the California Sheephead fillet length regulation,” said Chuck Valle, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist.

“The Sportfishing Association of California sincerely appreciates the Department and their willingness to work with the community to solve a problem which will result in the protection of our resources. This is just another example of the collaborative efforts of the Department and industry as we jointly assist recreational fishing efforts,” said Ken Franke, President of the Sportfishing Association of California.

For more information about the California Sheephead fillet regulation change, please contact Miranda Haggerty, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Scientist, at (858) 467-2015.

post by Miranda Haggerty, CDFW Environmental Scientist