Recreational groundfish regulations take effect on Aug. 25

SACRAMENTO — New recreational fishing restrictions for the groundfish fishery are officially in effect as of Aug. 25 (12:01 a.m.), according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).

The restrictions apply to waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California state line.

Here is the full list of restrictions:

  • Northern Management Area (Oregon/California state line to Cape Mendocino): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth through Dec. 31
  • Mendocino Management Area (Cape Mendocino to Point Arena): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth through Dec. 31
  • San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point): Take is prohibited seaward of the 30 fathom depth contour (180 feet) through Dec. 31
  • Central Management Area (Pigeon Point to Point Conception): Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet) through Dec. 31
  • Southern Management Area (Point Conception to the U.S./Mexico border): Take is prohibited seaward of the 60 fathom depth contour (360 feet) through Dec. 31. No changes are slated for this area.

“Note that in the months of November-December, allowable fishing depths in the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas will remain at 20 fathoms, and will not extend to unlimited depths,” DFW staff announced in its released statement.

DFW staff added the yelloweye rockfish fishery is expected to exceed its federal harvest limit (3.9 metric tons) for 2018, based upon recent bycatch estimates.

The department can make modifications to fishery restrictions to avoid exceeding catch or take limits. A notice of changes must be issued by DFW at least 10 days ahead of the effective date. DFW announced this most recent restrictions change on Aug. 15.

“Yelloweye rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that were declared overfished in 2002 and cannot be retained in the recreational fishery,” DFW staff stated. “They are currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan to allow the population to recover, which has required significant cutbacks to west coast sport and commercial fisheries for more than a decade.”

Anglers are urged to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish frequent, such as outcrops or pinnacles.

“If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality,” DFW staff stated. “DFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.”

More information about the groundfish regulations and the fishery’s stock status can be found online at

Dept.of Fish and Wildlife photo

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