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

New Groundfish Regulation Implementation Delayed

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Vermilion rockfish, one of more than 90 species of groundfish found in state waters.   CDFW photo by A. Maguire

UPDATE – Late on Feb 3, 2017 the federal government announced that 2017-2018 recreational and commercial groundfish regulations would go into effect on Feb. 7, 2017. View updated recreational groundfish regulation summaries here.

On Jan. 20, 2017, White House staff on behalf of President Trump implemented a regulatory freeze to ensure that the President’s appointees or designees have the opportunity to review any new or pending federal regulations. This freeze includes Continue reading

Snapshot: New State Diving Record

grassRFrecord14A new sport diving record was set on August 1, 2014 when Marco A. Mazza (left) speared a 6 lb. 3 oz. grass rockfish (Sebastes rastrelliger) while freediving off Marin County in northern California. This fish beats the previous state diving record, which stood for over a decade, by 3 oz. Congratulations Marco!

In the sport diving category, the starry flounder record is still open (min. weight 8 lb.) and awaiting its first qualifying fish. For more information about state recreational fishing and diving records, see the CDFW Record Ocean Sport Fish webpage. Continue reading