In-Season Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes

Commercial Digest 2019 cover - link opens in new window

This page contains information about unscheduled, in-season regulation changes for recreational and commercial ocean fishing in 2019.

CDFW is required to notify the public of in-season regulation changes for groundfish at least 10 days before the new regulations becomes effective, via news release.

"The department shall give the public and the National Marine Fisheries Service no less than 10 days notice of any fishery closure or rule change implemented pursuant to this Section via a department news release." - Section 27.20(f) of Title 14, link opens in new windowCalifornia Code of Regulations

Further information may be obtained by calling your local CDFW office. You may also sign up for the Marine Region News Service to receive automatic notification of in-season regulation changes.


News Releases, Updates and Informational Notices

May 23, 2019

Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens from Cape Mendocino to Humboldt Bay

May 21, 2019

Recreational Canary Rockfish, Black Rockfish, and Lingcod Bag Limit Increases Effective June 1, 2019

April 4, 2019

New California Sheephead Fillet-at-Sea Regulation Now in Effect

April 3, 2019

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Close Statewide April 15

March 26, 2019

Entanglement Settlement Protects Whales, Sea Turtles, and California's Crab Fishery

January 25, 2019

New Recreational Groundfish Regulations Now in Effect

January 18, 2019

Recreational and Commercial Dungeness Crab Fisheries to Open in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties


Summary of Regulation Changes

May 23, 2019

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the commercial rock crab fishery will reopen from near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County (40°30.00’ N. lat.) north to the Humboldt Bay entrance at the north jetty (40°46.15’ N. lat.), including all ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

May 21, 2019 (effective June 1, 2019)

Within the statewide Rockfish, Cabezon, and Greenlings Complex daily bag limit of 10 fish, the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from two to three fish, and the sub-bag limit for black rockfish will increase from three to four fish. The daily bag limit for lingcod will increase from one to two fish for areas south of 40°10’ N. lat (near Cape Mendocino), returning the statewide bag limit for lingcod to two fish. The changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019.

April 4, 2019

California Sheephead may now be filleted at sea, but the fillets must measure at least 6¾ inches in length and must bear the entire skin intact. The change in California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 27.65(b), which went into effect April 1, 2019, allows legal-sized California Sheephead to be filleted on board vessels while at sea and brought ashore as fillets.

April 3, 2019

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery will close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019. All Dungeness crab commercial fishing gear must be removed from ocean waters and landings must be completed by April 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to close the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide due to increased whale entanglement risk anticipated for the spring and summer months.

March 26, 2019

A lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity against CDFW (the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations intervened as well) in federal court in San Francisco has been settled. link opens in new windowThe settlement creates a comprehensive approach to the problem of whale entanglement in commercial trap fishing gear. It expedites state regulation, ensures stakeholder input from the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group and formalizes a first-ever commitment by CDFW to pursue a federal permit for protecting endangered species. While these steps are executed, the settlement calls for this year’s commercial Dungeness crab season to end three months early and prescribes protective measures for future springtime fishing seasons, when the greatest number of whales are present off the California coast.

January 25, 2019

The California Fish and Game Commission approved changes to recreational groundfish regulations on December 12, 2018 to conform to changes in federal rules for 2019 and 2020. The changes went into effect on January 2, 2019. Changes included new season dates and fishing depths in some groundfish management areas, a canary rockfish sub-bag limit increase to 2 fish within the RCG Complex bag limit of 10 fish, a lingcod bag limit decrease from 2 fish to 1 fish in areas south of 40°10' N latitude (near Cape Mendocino in northern California), and a return to a year-round fishery for California scorpionfish in the Southern Groundfish Management Area.

January 18, 2019

The CDFW Director has reopened the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County north to the California/Oregon state line. The area from the Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line was closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Public health agencies have determined that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health in this area. The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is now open in this area as well.