Starting in 2017, anglers will be allowed to retain canary rockfish for the first time in more than a decade. Canary rockfish was declared overfished in 2000, but the population rebuilt to healthy levels quicker than anticipated based on a combination of conservation efforts and restrictive management.
“We are pleased to offer new opportunities based on the improved stock status of canary rockfish.” said Marci Yaremko, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) state/federal fisheries program manager. “Sweeping changes were made to help rebuild the stock – prohibiting retention, shortening fishing seasons, closing deep-water fishing areas and encouraging widespread use of descending devices to improve survival for released fish. These sacrifices are finally paying off.”
The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the state’s recreational groundfish fishing regulations in December, including allowing retention of canary rockfish. The new regulations are effective as of Feb. 7.
The open season dates and allowable fishing depths for each of the recreational Groundfish Management areas are as follows:
- Northern – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction
- Mendocino – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction
- San Francisco – Open April 15 through Dec. 31 in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less
- Central – Open April 1 through Dec. 31 in 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less
- Southern – Open March 1 through Dec. 31 in 60 fathoms (360 feet) or less
The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour. The 30, 40, 50 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660, Subpart G).
New statewide changes include:
- A new sub-bag limit of one canary rockfish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) Complex bag limit
- A decrease in the sub-bag limit of black rockfish from five to three within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit
- Elimination of the sub-bag limit of bocaccio within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit
- A decrease in the lingcod bag limit from three to two fish
- Allowance of petrale sole and starry flounder to be retained year round at all depths
Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.
For more detailed information about recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or check CDFW’s Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/groundfish.