California Fish and Game Commission Adopts the California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan

FMP cover page

At its April 13, 2016 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) adopted a California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP) that puts into place a cohesive management strategy to guide the future sustainable management of California’s recreational and commercial lobster fisheries, as required by the Marine Life Management Act.

The FGC’s adoption of the FMP is the culmination of four years of a collaborative development process that began in the spring Continue reading

“Perfect Storm” Decimates Northern California Kelp Forests

photo by A. Maguire
kelp cover maps
Comparison of kelp cover at four important abalone fishery sites in 2008 and 2014. Green indicates kelp canopy observed. Maps created from data collected during CDFW aerial surveys. (Data: M. Fredle)

Northern California kelp forests have been reduced to an all-time low due to a “perfect storm” of large-scale ecological impacts. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine invertebrate management team has conducted annual ecosystem surveys of kelp forests in Sonoma and Mendocino counties since the late 1990s, and recent observations have caused concern about the state of the kelp forests. The severe reduction in kelp has already impacted the recreational red abalone fishery and commercial red urchin fishery, two economically important fisheries in northern California.

Abalone and Urchins Starving
Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), usually common on the northern California coast, has declined dramatically since 2014. Kelp forests are now 93 percent smaller compared to previous years, creating starvation conditions for herbivores. Continue reading

Reminder: California Crab Fishery Closures Continue

crab closure flyerUpdate – 12/1/2015  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds all recreational crabbers and commercial Dungeness crab fishers that the California Dungeness crab fisheries remain closed due to continued high levels of the neurotoxin domoic acid, found in crab samples from California ports.

The rock crab commercial and recreational fisheries north of the Santa Barbara-Ventura county line also remain closed at this time.

Crab collected from various ports along the coast from Crescent City to Santa Barbara continue to test high for domoic acid. As a result, the California Department of Public Health has not yet determined that crab are safe to eat. Continue reading

Good To Know: Lobster Report Card Non-Return Fees

lobster report cardWith the upcoming 2015-2016 recreational lobster fishing season fast approaching, many are rushing out to purchase their required spiny lobster report cards. If you step up to the cash register to find that you need to pay a non-return fee, that can only be because one or more of your lobster report cards from last season was not reported or received by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) by the due date. Over 6,500 lobster report cards were received at CDFW’s San Diego office by the April 30 deadline this year, and all of those cards have been entered into the Automated License Data System.

The non-return fee was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in 2013 to improve report card return rates. CDFW staff do not have the authority to exempt or refund the non-return fee for cards that were not received by the April 30 deadline. Pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, cards that were submitted by mail and not received by CDFW are considered not returned, including those that are lost in the mail. Per California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 1.74(e)(3):

If a report card is submitted by mail and not received by the Department, it is considered not returned unless the individual reports his card as lost pursuant to subsection 1.74(f).

To ensure that you do not have to pay a fee in the future, remember to report every card that you purchased, including lost cards, by April 30 following the end of the lobster season, as specified on the card and as required by California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 1.74(d)(3). CDFW recommends reporting online and saving your confirmation number, which Continue reading

2014-2015 Recreational Spiny Lobster Effort and Catch Estimates Available

Estimates Possible Thanks to Lobster Report Card Returns

California spiny lobsters

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has generated estimates of recreational spiny lobster catch and effort for the most recent lobster fishing season, based on data collected from lobster report cards.  CDFW thanks everyone who returned their lobster report card(s) on time this year, as required by law.

Over 36,000 lobster report cards were sold for the 2014-2015 lobster fishing season, of which approximately 54 percent were either reported online or mailed to the San Diego office. Continue reading