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Groundfish Information

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations California Saltwater Fishing

Keeping Up With In-Season Groundfish Regulation Changes

Recreational groundfish fishing regulations are adaptive and based on the latest information about the fishery. Therefore, the CDFW director can change state groundfish regulations during the year to conform to changes in federal regulations. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please access one of the following sources for up-to-date information concerning season dates, allowed fishing depths, and other regulations:

CCR T-14, Section 27.20(e)

Describes the process CDFW follows to enact in-season regulation adjustments for groundfish:

“Fishery closure and/or rule change: When the department determines, based on the best available scientific information, that an annual harvest limit [optimum yield (OY), annual catch limit (ACL), annual catch target (ACT), recreational harvest guideline, or recreational harvest target] established in regulation by the NOAA Fisheries (National Marine Fisheries Service) for any species of federally-managed groundfish or aggregate group of federal groundfish species has been exceeded or is projected to be exceeded prior to the end of the year or that catches are less than predicted, the following rule changes may occur:

(1) The department may modify the seasons and/or depth constraints for any species of federally-managed groundfish or aggregate group of federal groundfish species, California sheephead, ocean whitefish, and all greenlings of the genus Hexagrammos. Season and/or depth modifications may differ by Groundfish Management Area, time of year, mode of fishing, or gear utilized.

(2) The department may adjust existing bag or sub-bag limits or establish additional bag or sub-bag limits as needed for any species of federally-managed groundfish or aggregate group of federal groundfish species, California sheephead, ocean whitefish, and all greenlings of the genus Hexagrammos. Bag limits may differ by Groundfish Management Area, time of year, mode of fishing, or gear utilized.

(3) The department may adjust existing size limits or establish additional size limits as needed for any species of federally-managed groundfish or aggregate group of federal groundfish species, California sheephead, ocean whitefish, and all greenlings of the genus Hexagrammos. Size limits may differ by Groundfish Management Area, time of year, mode of fishing, or gear utilized.

CCR T-14, Section 27.20(f)

Describes how CDFW notifies the federal government and the public of in-season changes to groundfish fishing regulations:

“Notice of closure and/or rule change: The department shall give the public and the NOAA Fisheries no less than 10 calendar days’ notice of any fishery closure or rule change implemented pursuant to this Section via a department news release. Anglers and divers are advised to check the current rules before fishing. The latest fishing rules may be found on the department’s website at: www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine, or by calling (831) 649-2801 for recorded information, or by contacting a department office.”

Note: “Federal Groundfish” is defined in CCR T-14, Section 1.91 (pg. 22).