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Managing California’s Fisheries

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations California Saltwater Fishing

You’ve just returned to the dock after a fun (and hopefully rewarding) day of ocean sport fishing. As you tie up the boat and get ready to disembark, a smiling person in a CDFW uniform strolls down the dock, clipboard and measuring board in hand, and asks about your trip. How was the fishing today?

More than likely, you’ve just met a fishery sampler from the California Recreational Fisheries Survey (CRFS), a survey of saltwater sport anglers. The data that you provide to CRFS helps fishery managers set size limits, bag limits and fishing seasons with the goal of maximizing your fishing opportunity while conserving the fish species you caught today for generations to come.

Fishery managers use CRFS data to estimate the total catch (total number of fish caught) and fishing effort (number of fishing trips) of marine recreational anglers in California. CRFS was designed to meet specific management needs for all of California’s diverse recreational marine fisheries, and provide accurate and timely estimates. The accuracy of the estimates generated by CRFS depends heavily on your cooperation!

There are two ways that you can contribute to the accuracy of the data:

1. Cooperate with the CRFS field samplers conducting the interview:

Because every fishing trip is unique – different target species, fishing locations, and catch – we ask that saltwater anglers cooperate each and every time they are approached by a CRFS sampler. Answer the CRFS sampler’s questions about your fishing trip truthfully and to the best of your knowledge, and take the time to allow the sampler to examine, measure and weigh your catch.

2. Say “Yes” when you are contacted by a CRFS telephone surveyor:

Licensed anglers are contacted randomly throughout the year and asked questions about their fishing experiences. Data collected through this telephone survey are used to estimate fishing effort that cannot be estimated through field observations, such as night fishing and fishing from boats that depart from and return to private marinas. Your personal contact information is kept confidential.

Please do your part and say “Yes” when asked to participate in this important survey. Thank you!

For more information about the CRFS, including recreational catch and effort estimates, visit the CDFW website at