Tag Archives: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Approval granted for removal of grounded American Challenger

The U.S. Coast Guard’s top commander has authorized use of federal dollars from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to dismantle a 90-foot, decommissioned fishing vessel grounded on the rocks off the Marin Coast since last March. But the long-awaited consent means little until rough winter ocean conditions subside long enough to make salvage operations safe, officials said. The salvage “is approved, so it’s just a matter of time now,” said Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the California Fish and Game Department’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, which is handling communication for Unified Command. >click to read< 19:02

American Challenger: Salvage of grounded fishing vessel delayed – again.

The junked American Challenger vessel has listed more sharply in the months since it ran aground off the northern Marin coast, littering the shore with debris. And now officials have determined that the decommissioned fishing vessel is unsafe even for contract crews to board the vessel to weatherproof it for winter. “We’re on the verge of getting this thing removed from there,” Kinsey said, “and I just think as painfully slow and seemingly endless as the bureaucratic reviews have been, the good news is everyone has gotten to the place of, ‘Yeah, we’re going to get this thing out of here.’ Photo’s, video, >click to read<  Search results for American Challenger, >click to read< 15:47

California Commercial Lobsterman Convicted of Poaching in Marine Protected Area

After a series of complaints from legitimate commercial lobster harvesters operating offshore of San Pedro and Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County, CDFW launched an investigation of illegal commercial poaching activity. Using a combination of multiple contacts and inspections at sea and at the dock, home visits, analysis of marine navigation equipment seized during the investigation and various surveillance techniques, wildlife officers concluded that Rustin Craig Wilson, 37, of Lawndale, had been engaged in several commercial fishing behaviors that resulted in potential violations of commercial fishing laws and regulations. Wilson is known to wildlife officers for prior commercial lobster fishing convictions and was in the middle of a 36-month probation for those convictions by a February 13, 2020, court order. >click to read< 09:04

California: Dungeness crab season opens on time, but it’s off to slow start

Dan Schmidt has been fishing off Ten Mile Beach for the past six or seven years. The F/V Condor harvested a fraction of what it normally gets for the first pull of the season on the first day of Dungeness crab season Wednesday. With fuel and bait costs, it wasn’t very lucrative, and Schmidt said he’s shifting to black cod and lingcod, which are more cost-effective, unless the season picks up later. “I’ve talked to a lot of other guys that have fished from up here to Shelter Cove and it’s kind of the same scenario,” Schmidt said. “Apparently Crescent City and Eureka have some good volumes of crab, but down here it’s not the same.” >click to read< 16:53

Southern California Fisheries Closure Lifted – Fishing to reopen following oil spill off Huntington Beach coast

At noon Tuesday, Nov. 30, waters along a 45-mile stretch of coastline that were closed to fishing because of last month’s oil spill off Huntington Beach, will welcome anglers again, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Monday, (click to read) saying testing showed consuming seafood from the area poses no risk to the public. Terese Pearson, whose family runs Pearson’s Port in the Newport Back Bay, said Monday evening she was “elated” to hear the news that its fishing business could resume after weeks of going without the income,,, >click to read< 09:21

California officials vie to improve response after oil spill

California officials on Monday said better communication and detection technologies could improve the state’s response to an oil spill like last month’s crude pipeline leak off the Orange County coast. The hearing came six weeks after the leak in a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. that ferried crude from offshore platforms to the Southern California coast. The cause of the spill is under investigation, but federal officials have said the pipeline was likely initially damaged by a ship’s anchor. >click to read< 15:25 Of note, more than 645 square miles (1,671 square kilometers) off the coast are still off limits to fishing pending testing.

Dungeness crab season opens with extra restrictions as industry sees economic consequences

From Lopez Point in Southern Monterey County to Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, Dungeness crab catching is allowed right now using crab traps, hoop nets and snares, potentially bringing in a boost to the Central Coast economy during the holidays. But due to whale activity, take using crab traps is temporarily restricted in Fishing Zones two and three from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Lopez Point. Mike Conroy is the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association. He said historically, the opening of Dungeness crab season would mean big business for fisheries across California. >click to read< 10:02

Crab traps restricted in zones 3 and 4 because of potential entanglement

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line was scheduled to open on November 15, 2021 in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6. However, the season opener has been delayed in Fishing Zones 3 and 4 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Lopez Point) due to presence of humpback whales and leatherback sea turtles and the potential for entanglement. Fishing Zones 5 and 6 are scheduled to open November 15 under a Fleet Advisory, pending Domoic Acid testing results. >click to read< 09:47

Prohibition? Crab traps may be banned as Dungeness season approaches

Recreational Dungeness crab season opens Nov. 6 and, in response to new regulations by the Fish and Game Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife may prohibit crab traps in an effort to prevent marine life entanglement. Charlton Bonham will review data from the department’s Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program to assess the environmental impacts of crab traps for both recreational and commercial crab fishing. The first hearing will be held on Nov. 1, which could impact gear policies for the season opening five days later. >click to read< 10:18

Everything We Know About the Southern California Oil Spill Right Now

Here’s what we know so far. The Coast Guard received an initial report of an oil sheen off the coast of Newport Beach Saturday at approximately 9:10 a.m. The size of the spill was initially reported to be 13 square miles.,, Here’s where it gets a little interesting… The location of the spill, 3 miles off Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, also happens to be just south of where there were more than 82 ships anchored and awaiting to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as of Friday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. >click to read< 08:36

As Salmon and Squid Seasons Rebound, New Questions

Over the last few months, hundreds of boats have been fishing off of, or transiting along Santa Cruz County’s coastline. Industry analysts report plenty of bright spots in both the salmon and squid markets this season. But after some scientific studies were scuttled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and other research couldn’t be completed due to wildfires, fisheries management is still undergoing its own pandemic comeback, as climate change fears remain ever-present. “It’s definitely been a good season,” Scotts Valley resident Hans Haveman, the CEO of H&H Fresh Fish at the Santa Cruz Harbor says during a late-June interview. “Unfortunately, regulation from the state and feds have shut us down right when it’s goin’ good.” video, >click to read< 08:50

Grounded 90-foot vessel American Challenger to be refloated

Hopes are to have the 90-foot American Challenger refloated and towed away later this summer, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response. The decommissioned commercial vessel grounded north of Dillon Beach on March 6 after running adrift under tow from Puget Sound to Mexico, where it was to have been scuttled. The tugboat operator towing the decommissioned vessel said later that a steel shackle connecting the boats failed in Bodega Bay, ultimately causing the American Challenger to drift into shore, though a Coast Guard crew was monitoring it at the time. photos, >click to read< 13:40

CDFW Director calls for statewide closure to mediocre crab season on June 1, due to presence of Whales

This decision was not what the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group recommended, said Del Norte County District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen, a crab fisherman who is part of the working group. While many crab fishermen pulled in their gear earlier than normal, the few that are still fishing will be impacted by this decision, For crab fishermen in central California, the season closure comes roughly four weeks early. Despite his decision, Bonham acknowledged the difficult season many commercial crab fishermen have had. >click to read< 09:01

Commercial Dungeness Crab fleet ordered to end operations June 1 for whale endangerment concerns

An order to end the current crabbing season six weeks early in Northern California will deliver another blow to crab fishermen in Humboldt County after seeing record low landings this season, fishermen said. “The price on crab is very high right now. There might not be the most participation (out of the season) but there are still a lot of people who rely on springtime crabbing at a very high price,” he said. “It is quite unfortunate and sad that it is going to be closed earlier than normal.” California Department of Fish and Wildlife director Charlton Bonham ordered the state’s commercial dungeness crab fishing fleet to end its activities at noon on June 1, approximately six weeks earlier than the normal July 15 end for Northern California crab fishermen. All crab lines must be cleared by the end time set. >click to read< 08:33

Multiple challenges hamper commercial Dungeness crab season

The commercial Dungeness season in California opened late because the state’s Risk Assessment Mitigation Plan (RAMP), which is in full-force for the first time this season,,, “It’s a little bit tough right now,” said Dick Ogg, who has fished commercially out of Bodega Bay for more than 20 years. “That’s kind of an understatement.” Ogg is a member of the Dungeness Crab Gear Working Group, which contributed to the RAMP. Ogg says he and other vessel operators have come up with a variety of strategies to reduce the chances of migrating whales or endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles getting tangled up in gear. Ogg pulled his crab gear out early this year, deciding to put his energy into prepping for the salmon season. But he said for the vessels still at it, the higher market prices made up for low catches.  >click to read< 14:08

California Fishermen are worried about the commercial salmon season

The commercial salmon season typically starts on May 1, but the season’s start for the coastal area of California is expected to be delayed due to low salmon numbers. Instead of having a wide-open season from May to September, there will likely be only one to two weeks each month for fishing, with expectations for a late June start for the Bay Area, according to Kandice Morgenstern, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Ocean Salmon Project. “It’s very personal, and it hits home. Don’t put your eggs all in that basket,” Half Moon Bay fisherman Don Marshall said.  >click to read< 08:54

Shipwreck lodged on Marin coast probed for pollution threat remains in place

Nearly a month after a 90-foot fishing boat ran aground on the Marin coast, the wreckage remains in place while specialists assess the risk of environmental damage. A team of marine engineers and safety experts has been enlisted to determine how much fuel is aboard the American Challenger, which drifted to shore on March 6. So far, the contractors have evaluated 13 of the 17 tanks onboard, but progress was halted when the ship shifted, making work conditions unsafe,,, >click to read< 08:08

Misguided AB 534 ‘Pop-Up Crab Gear’ Will Hurt Whales, Fishing Families, Coastal Communities

Data Show Whale Populations Soaring, Virtually No Interactions with Crab Gear! Recently, Assembly Member Bonta of the California Legislature introduced a bill, AB 534 that if passed, would require faulty and failure prone ropeless fishing gear, as determined by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), to be used when taking any species of fish for commercial or recreational purposes when using a trap. AB 534 promotes an unproven and unviable fishing method that presents significant operational and safety risks to West Coast fisheries and that will result in more harm to marine life. The bill is an end-run around existing state and federal regulatory >click to read< 13:32

Bill 534 could eliminate whale entanglements, hurt (destroy) the crab fishery – 03/4/2021, Authored by Rob Bonta-D California, in collaboration with Social Compassion in Legislation and the Center for Biological Diversity, Assembly Bill 534 argues that crabbers use antiquated trapping gear >click to read< 

California Commercial Dungeness Crab Update

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) just completed the most recent marine life entanglement risk assessment under the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP). Recent survey data indicate most Humpback and Blue whales remain outside of the California fishing grounds, however a few Humpback whales have begun to return to Monterey Bay and the Gulf of the Farallones. As a result, the Director of CDFW has issued a statewide Fleet Advisory for the commercial Dungeness crab fishery for all Fishing Zones (Oregon state line to Mexico). >click to read< 08:22

California salmon season delayed and shortened, angering North Bay fishermen. Closest start may be May 1

Expected to be decided within the next few weeks, there are three proposals on the table, all shorten the season considerably. The closest start may be May 1, instead of April. Association President John McManus predicted a 40% loss in the season for sports fishermen, while Crescent City commercial fisherman George Bradshaw predicted the industry’s take would be down by two thirds. The bad news for a delayed and restricted salmon fishing season comes on the heels of a slow, sputtering start for crab fishing fleets, which were stalled while fishery officials waited for migrating whales to leave the coastal region. >click to read< 08:05

Wreckage Removal on Hold! F/V American Challenger stuck on Marin coast until salvage funds identified

State and federal officials are wrapping up their emergency response to a wrecked fishing vessel on the northern Marin coast,,, Tom Cullen, administrator for the state Office of Spill Prevention and Response, was outwardly frustrated by the long-running discussions about the problem and, in particular, by the American Challenger — an uninsured boat from out of state on its way to be scuttled being towed by a tugboat that also was uninsured.,, Both the tugboat and the 1975 American Challenger are owned by Ship International Inc., whose principal, Felix Vera, are not able to fund the salvage. video, >click to read< 10:04

State and local agencies continue work to address grounded vessel at Dillon Beach

Officials said the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders received initial reports at 8:45 a.m. Friday, March 5, that the American Challenger was being towed southward by the Tug Hunter from Puget Sound, Washington, when the Tug Hunter lost propulsion due to a rope entangling the propeller. On Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said marine surveyors boarded the American Challenger to continue their inspection of the vessel’s fuel tanks by using sound tapes and paste to get an accurate reading of the amount of fuel aboard. >click to read< 07:45

Oil contamination found at Marin beach when vessel grounds following towing incident

The incident happened Friday morning while the 90-foot fishing boat was being towed south from the Seattle area, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The tugboat Hunter became disabled when a rope got tangled in its propeller. Rough sea and poor visibility forced the tug crew to discontinue the job, the department said. The tugboat was towed to Sausalito, and the fishing boat drifted into the rocks south of Estero de San Antonio. The boat, named American Challenger, is being watched by officials,,, On Monday, the Coast Guard did not have an estimated time in which the fishing boat could be removed. >click to read< 12:10

This Year’s Dungeness Crab Fishery a Shell of its Former Self

Noyo Harbor: How’s the Dungeness crab season playing out this year? Word on the dock is grim

Dungeness crab season is off to a pitiful start this year. Some crabbers pulled their gear out and threw the towel in just one day into the season.,,, Gene Mathieuso, whose family has worked in the fishing industry since the early 20th century said that he has seen years as bad as this before.“1973 was probably the worst season we’ve ever had,” he said. “Landings were less than a million, at 880,000 pounds.” For reference, the average total California dungeness catch from 2010 to 2020 was around 14 million pounds. Mathieuso said he anticipates that this year will rival 1973. photos, >click to read< 12:25

California lobstermen ride high-price wave from China

Since it became home to California’s first lobster fishery in the early 1870s, the coastal city of Santa Barbara has established a long and proud history of lobster fishing. The industry is now experiencing a surge in demand because of a trade war between nations that are thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. Almost all of the lobsters caught in the waters off of Santa Barbara’s coast this season will end up in China, where an ongoing dispute with Australia has worked to the advantage of California’s lobster fishing community. The surge in demand from Chinese markets has resulted in high prices that fishermen and distributors here say are without precedent, as well as plenty of uncertainty. >click to read< 08:36

Five Days In, Crescent City Fishermen Continue To Pull Up Empty Crab Pots

“It’s a bleak year”,,,  After a delay initially due to poor quality crab and later because of price negotiations with seafood processors, Del Norte County fishermen and others on the North Coast were able to pull their crab pots at 8 a.m. on Saturday. But four hours into the season, when dock workers and fishermen should have been offloading the first of their catch, Citizens Dock was still quiet.,, Since fishermen went to work, Pacific Choice Seafoods and other processors raised the price they were offering to $4 per pound,,, >click to read< 07:32

California: Don’t expect Dungeness Crab for Christmas this year

“Unless a miracle happens, which is highly unlikely, we won’t see crab for Christmas,” said Tony Anello, a veteran fisher who runs his boat, the Annabelle, out of Bodega Bay and offers up his tender product at Spud Point Crab Co. After several years of varied setbacks and more than a month of delays to the 2020 Dungeness season, local crabbers now face a new hurdle as they haggle over price with large wholesalers. “We should be traveling right now,” Dick Ogg,,, wholesalers are asking skippers to cut their prices by 30% to 35%, leaving both sides approximately $1 a pound apart from an agreement that would start the crab season.   >click to read< 08:05

Ben Platt: Whales aren’t at risk from crab fishing along California’s coast

Anyone who lives in or near California’s many historic fishing communities like Morro Bay, Monterey, or Half Moon Bay, has probably heard the term “ropeless” crab fishing gear. That’s the new buzzword for equipment being promoted by environmental groups to solve the perceived problem of whale interactions with fishing gear.,,, Both the East Coast Lobster fishery and the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery, each of which are made up of thousands of independent fishermen, have tested the pop-up “ropeless” gear and found it to be faulty. Meanwhile, strikes by large ships likely cause 50-150 whale deaths a year off the West Coast,,,  >click to read< 07:31

Extended delay – Commercial Dungeness Crab fishing ban extended until Dec. 16

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife extended the delay of commercial crab fishing Nov. 24 from Point Arena down to Mexico after it spotted whales in crab fishing grounds. Scott Edson fishes in Half Moon Bay and isn’t surprised by the delay extension until Dec. 16. He expects the current delay to last even longer. Edson said the delays are a disaster for commercial fishermen trying to survive during a tough season and a pandemic. Increased delays cost him money in an already limited season,,, >click to read< 08:59