California Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Open in Most of Northern California, Commercial Season Opens May 12

crab
Dungeness crab taken from Bodega Bay area                                     photo by C. Juhasz

Update – 5/19/2016 Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Now Open Statewide, Commercial Fishery to Follow in Seven Days

As of May 2, 2016 the majority of coastline in northern California is now open to recreational Dungeness crab fishing. These areas comprise all the ocean, bay and estuarine waters south of the Humboldt Bay entrance, including the entrance and the waters of Humboldt Bay, and the area north of the southern boundary of Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area (near Redwood Creek in Humboldt County) to the California/Oregon border. Continue reading

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

Recreational and Commercial Dungeness Crab Fisheries Open South of Sonoma-Mendocino County Line, Crab Testing Continues

crab in trap
Dungeness crab in crab pot

Update – 4/4/2016  On March 11, 2016 the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and California Department of Public Health lifted the health advisory for Dungeness crab for the region south of the Sonoma-Mendocino County line (near Gualala, Mendocino County). The recreational Dungeness crab fishery has been open since this date, and the commercial fishery opened in this area on March 26. Continue reading

“Perfect Storm” Decimates Northern California Kelp Forests

waves_A.Maguire
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

California Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Remains Closed While Crab Testing Continues

Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab

Update – 3/15/2016   The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed statewide while the recreational fishery opened last month south of Point Reyes, Marin County (38° North latitude) following a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Department of Public Health that lifted the health advisory for Dungeness crab in this area. Dungeness crab domoic acid test results from Bodega Bay have shown “clean” areas (less than 30 parts per million (ppm) domoic acid concentration in the crab), but the Russian River area still needs two clean tests. Continue reading