Tag Archives: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

North Coast crabbers haul in above average catch in 2017-18 season worth $42 million

The North Coast had a significantly improved Dungeness crab season this year, hauling in 14.3 million of the 19.4 million pounds of Dungeness crab landed in California so far this season, according to preliminary state data provided to the Times-Standard on Tuesday. While there were a few obstacles, Trinidad crab fisherman Mike McBrayer said Tuesday that he had a much improved season thanks to a great crew and good weather that permitted him to get out on the water more days. “And there were crabs, and that’s always a good thing,” McBrayer said.>click to read<15:47

Crescent City’s annual crab haul larger than average

Despite a late start to the season, commercial fishermen brought slightly more Dungeness crab to the Crescent City Harbor than in previous years, according to numbers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While this makes for increased revenue at the harbor, which collects 2 cents for every pound brought to its docks, Rick Shepherd, president of the Del Norte Fisherman’s Marketing Association, said commercial crabbers were paid less than last year.  “I think one of the problems that I witnessed was there was a larger number of boats that participated here and so I think the actual amount of crab each boat caught was less,” he said. >click to read<09:39

Sinking fishing boat salvaged at Ventura Harbor

Crews salvaged a commercial fishing boat that was sinking at Ventura Harbor early Saturday. The Ventura Harbor Patrol was notified at 2:10 a.m. about a boat that had started sinking in its slip at the Ventura Harbor Village Marina, 1583 Spinnaker Drive. Patrol officers responded and requested assistance from the city of Ventura Fire Department, the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. An oil containment boom was deployed around the vessel to minimize the spread of its 1,300 gallons of diesel fuel. >click to read<19:46

Boat busted

On May 22, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted on their Facebook page that read in part that in September of 2017, their officers made a “significant over-limit bust on the captain of the commercial passenger fishing vessel, Red Rooster, out of San Diego Harbor. “…. the vessel’s captain (Christian Andrew Cates), plead guilty to possession of fish illegally taken outside the state and importation of fish without declaration. He was sentenced to five days of public service work and $40,000 in fines, $37,000 of which has already been paid to the court.” >click to read<12:04

California Wetfish Producers Association: Sardine Fishery Collapse Latest Fake News

This Sunday, April 8, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Portland to debate the fate of the West Coast sardine fishery, after the 2018 sardine stock assessment estimated the biomass has declined by 97 percent since 2006. According to the California Wetfish Producers Association, the only problem with that finding is it belies reality. “Fishermen are seeing more sardines, not less, especially in nearshore waters. And they’ve been seeing this population spike for several years now,” said Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association (CWPA). “This stock assessment was an update that was not allowed to include any new methods and was based primarily on a single acoustic survey,,, >click to read<21:15

Whales and fishermen caught in turf war over California’s coast

As rising ocean temperatures move their food supplies closer to shore, a staggering number of migrating whales have been forced into the path of California’s crab fishing fleet — and the confrontations have increased dramatically over the last five years. State agencies have tried and failed to keep whales out of crab gear, prompting one nonprofit to take matters into its own hands.,, Some fishermen see this lawsuit as another nail in the coffin for California’s Dungeness crab fishery. >click to read< 09:20

California’s Salmon Industry Set to Take Another Hit

Fisheries managers will impose the toughest restrictions on California’s salmon harvest in nearly a decade, hobbling the billion-dollar industry that depends on it. This year’s fall salmon run is estimated to be only a quarter of normal on California’s Sacramento River, due mostly to drought conditions and warmer ocean temperatures. As a result, officials at the Pacific Fishery Management Council last week moved to cut the commercial season by as much as a third of its standard length. >click to read< 10:42

Carlsbad Fish-Breeding Program Is a Mess, Report Confirms

For years, the state has paid the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute to breed and release white seabass into the ocean. The goal was to spawn enough new fish to help overcome threats from pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction. But years of experimental fish breeding at Hubbs’ Carlsbad hatchery have done nearly nothing to help restock the ocean, according to a new report by an independent panel of scientists. Instead, the program has potentially threatened the health of the wild white seabass population. The state has spent $22 million on the program over the past 15 years. In recent years, that’s amounted to about $12 per fish released into the ocean. >click to read< 08:49

California: Commercial crabbing on hold

Although they’re not calling it a strike, crabbers say they will hold off on fishing until next week so plants and the boats can “get cleaned up.” Randy Smith, owner of the fishing vessel Mistasea, said seafood buyers have begun offering $2.50 per pound of crab brought in, 25 cents less than what was being offered when crabbers began fishing on Feb. 5. But, Smith, who attended a meeting of the Del Norte Fisherman’s Marketing Association on Friday, said seafood buyers have told fishermen that they won’t take any more crab until Monday or Tuesday.  “It’s kind of confusing whether they don’t want us fishing until then, but they didn’t want a big glut of crabs,” >click to read< 11:48

$40 Million Later, A Pioneering Plan To Boost Wild Fish Stocks Shows Little Success

Back in 1983, it seemed like a good idea. Local populations of California white seabass, a favorite among recreational and commercial fishermen, prized for its mild, tender, flaky white flesh, were declining.,, But as is often the case, things weren’t so simple. Some 35 years and nearly $40 million later, the future of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (as it’s formally called) is in jeopardy: The first formal scientific evaluation has concluded that the program had increased white seabass populations by less than 1 percent — a stunningly low success rate. >click to read< 09:52

For first time in 60 years, spring-run Chinook salmon reproduce in San Joaquin River

As work to restore the San Joaquin River continues, scientists are seeing promising signs that salmon can thrive in the river as hatchery fish reach new milestones. A recent breakthrough came in fall 2017, when spring-run Chinook salmon created their nests, called redds, in the deeper and colder parts of the river below Friant Dam. The fish successfully spawned, laying eggs that incubated and hatched into tiny fry as the sexually mature fish died, part of the species’ unusual life cycle. >click here to read< 15:16

Commercial crab season to open Monday but local crabbers want another test done

Following several delays, the commercial Dungeness crab fishing season for Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties is opening Jan. 15, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday.,,, Trinidad commercial crabber Craig Goucher said there are currently no plans to set gear Jan. 12. Instead, he said, local crabbers plan to wait until Jan. 15 to drop gear. “We’re going to set some test gear out and get it processed and determine what the pick out is,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “We can legally get that sample on the 15th.” >click here to read< 09:34

Negotiations could further delay crab catch – Columbia crab fishermen can start placing their pots in the ocean Friday morning, but first they have to settle on a price with processors. >click here to read< 10:17

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Open in Northern California

The northern California Dungeness crab fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties will open 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. The opener will be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that will begin at 8:01 a.m. Jan. 12, 2018. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham had delayed the season a total of three times after crab quality test results in November and December indicated that crab were not ready for harvesting. Jan. 15 is the latest the Director can delay the season due to quality testing. >click here to read<21:23

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opener Pushed Back to Dec. 31

The director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced an additional 15-day delay for the upcoming commercial Dungeness crab season, based on the results of another round of pre-season quality testing conducted on Dec. 5. The tests continued to show that Dungeness crab are not yet ready for harvesting. The delay affects Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open on 12:01 a.m. Dec. 31, 2017, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2017. click here to read the press release 19:32

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season in Northern California Delayed Due to Crab Quality Testing

Due to poor crab meat quality test results conducted at the beginning of November, the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has issued a memo delaying the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season in Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties) for a minimum of 15 days until Dec. 16, under authority of Fish and Game Code section 8276.2. Crab quality tests ensure that crab are filled out enough prior to harvesting and follow the testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee that is overseen by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. click here to read the press release 21:15

Record Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Returns Reported on Mokelumne River

For many years after Camanche Dam was built, the Mokelumne River, a major tributary of the San Joaquin River and the Delta, hosted small runs of Chinook salmon. The historic runs of steelhead after the construction of the dam averaged only 100 fish and no steelhead returned to spawn many years. But both steelhead and salmon runs have rebounded in recent years, due to a number of factors. In welcome good news for Central Valley salmon populations, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) report record fall spawning returns of Chinook salmon and steelhead to the Mokelumne River, a tributary of the San Joaquin River.,, The hatchery has received 13,799 adult salmon to date—compared to 4,129 at this point last year—and is expected to break the record return of 18,000 in 2011. click here to read the story 20:33

Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishery Closed at Anacapa Island and the East End of Santa Cruz Island Due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has enacted a commercial spiny lobster fishery closure effective immediately. State health agencies determined that spiny lobster near Anacapa Island, Ventura County and the east end of Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara County had unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended closure of the commercial fishery. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera (tomalley) of spiny lobster. click here to read the story 21:30

Coast Guard, partners respond to grounded fishing vessel near El Capitan State Beach

Coast Guard and local partner agencies are responding to a grounded commercial fishing vessel near El Capitan State Beach Saturday. At approximately 5:30 a.m., the crew aboard the Kaylee J notified Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach that their vessel ran aground and requested assistance. The crew aboard were reportedly not injured. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment personnel in Santa Barbara responded and reported no oil pollution in the water. A unified command was established between the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and California State Parks to remove oil and hazardous materials held within the vessel’s structure. The cause of the incident is under investigation. -USCG- 18:41

Thousands of Sharks, Other Sea Life Mysteriously Die in San Francisco Bay, State Says No Funding Available to Determine Cause

As many as 2,000 leopard sharks have mysteriously died in the San Francisco Bay over the past few months. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says determining the cause is not a priority for the state since the sharks are not threatened or endangered, however, scientists say additional research and resources are crucial since the threat is now believed to be preying on other marine life. “This pathogen can tackle a variety of different species … we’ve had a much more diverse group of fish that have been found dead in the San Francisco Bay.” At least 500 bat rays, hundreds of striped bass, 50 smooth-hound sharks and about 100 halibut died in the bay between February and July, according to Okihiro’s estimates. Video, click here to read the story 09:24

Environmental group sues California over whale-killing gear

An environmental group sued the state of California on Tuesday for allegedly not doing enough to keep Dungeness crab fishery gear from killing protected whales. The Center for Biological Diversity filed its lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, saying the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is liable for a surge in entanglements of endangered whales and sea turtles because it authorizes and manages operation of the fishery. click here to read the story 15:18

Oregon group tries to dodge California’s fate by addressing whale entanglement issues early

Oregon’s commercial fishing industry is trying to get ahead of a problem that could put California in the middle of a lawsuit and has the potential to drastically change Dungeness crab fisheries on the West Coast. Last year, 71 whales tangled with U.S. fishing gear off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington state, as well as neighboring countries — the highest annual total for the West Coast since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping such records in 1982. Sixty-six of these incidents happened in California, many of them involving endangered humpback whales tangled in commercial crab gear. At the end of June, the Center for Biological Diversity announced its intent to sue the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages the fishery, for “causing the take of threatened and endangered whales and sea turtles.” click here to read the story 15:27

California Dungeness crab industry bounces back with strong season

Crabbers, seafood processors and state biologists agree that the most recent Dungeness crab season, which ended June 30 south of Mendocino County, was above average. Considering the disastrous previous season of 2015-16, which featured historic, months-long closures in the Dungeness crab fishery due to the presence of domoic acid in the animals, that’s more than above-average news. “We made some money,” said Shane Lucas, who fishes for crab out of Bodega Bay, where he also owns the Fishetarian Fish Market. Based on preliminary data, the 2016-17 season brought in over 21 million pounds of Dungeness crab to California ports, worth $66.7 million.,,, But this year’s crab season was not without its issues. click here to read the story 16:33

Commercial rock crab season emergency closure extended for public safety

The emergency closure of the Northern California commercial rock crab season, which was set to end today, has been extended by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) due to public safety concerns over potential toxins in the area. The closure covers commercial rock crab fishing from Bodega Bay in Sonoma County to the Oregon border. The closure comes after state health officials detected high levels of domoic acid in rock crabs found in the region last fall, which can pose health risks and be toxic if eaten. The closure was set to expire today, but CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham extended the commercial crabbing restriction using a new authority granted to him this year. Click here to read the story 09:42

Crab fishing organization says State of California commission unfairly changed policy on crabbing season

A crabbing association is suing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Fish and Game Commission, alleging violation of federal law. Tri-State Crab Producers Association filed a complaint on April 5 in the San Francisco County Superior Court against the defendants alleging that they attempted to alter and delay the beginning of the crabbing season. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that it suffered damages due to the changes in the departments’ policies regarding crabbing season.  Click here to read the story 09:40

200,000 Salmon survive Oroville spillway’s erosion only to suffocate this week

A quarter-million hatchery salmon survived the near-collapse of a California dam’s spillway this winter, only to suffocate after a pump failed this week, officials said Thursday. They were among about 5 million baby fall-run Chinook salmon that were rescued in February after tons of mud washed down the Feather River, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan. The erosion came from the failing emergency spillway near the Oroville dam that caused the precautionary evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents. Click here to watch video, read the story, and view 31 images 15:46

Congress to consider relief funds for California crab fleet as Brown proposes landing fee hike

Long-awaited federal funds to alleviate California’s crabbing fleet after last year’s dismal season could be approved by Congress as early as the next few weeks, according to California 2nd District Rep. Jared Huffman. Huffman (D-San Rafael) said Congress is set to vote on a supplemental budget appropriation to prevent a government shutdown in the coming weeks. He said he and a bipartisan group of legislators have signed on to a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to include fishery disaster funds in this budget bill.,, Meanwhile at the state level, local legislators and fishing organizations are protesting Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to increase commercial fishing landing fees by as much as 1,300 percent in order to help close a $20 million shortfall in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife budget. continue reading the story here 16:09

Squid boats dot Malibu coast – Roughly 40,157 tons of squid landed this season

Almost every night this winter, bright lights have appeared off the coast of Malibu. It’s an eerie sight on a foggy evening, suggesting something unearthly or supernatural, but the only thing these ghostly lights portend is the presence of Doryteuthis opalescens, the common market squid. It’s a good omen for California’s seafood industry. Market squid is one of California’s largest commercial fisheries, and tons of frozen California calamari are shipped all over the world each year. However, the species had almost entirely disappeared from Southern California waters last year. The absence of squid is being blamed on El Niño. California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist Laura Ryley studies squid. While concerns are being raised over the potential impact of prolonged ocean warming on the species, the return of more normal temperature conditions in the Pacific this winter appears to have signaled the return of the squid. Read the story here 09:22 

More of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open from Point Arena to Ten Mile; One Area Still Closed

On Dec. 29, more of the California coastline will open to the commercial Dungeness crab fishery. Some previously closed areas will open at the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today. The area between Point Arena and Ten Mile River in Mendocino County will open on Dec. 29. However, due to persisting conditions of elevated domoic acid levels, the fishery will remain closed between Ten Mile River and Shelter Cove. The closed portions of the coast may open once testing by state agencies shows that domoic acid in crabs from the area no longer poses a significant risk to public health. On Dec. 29 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season will open from 38° 57.5′ N. Lat. (near Point Arena) to 39° 33.3′ N. Lat. (near Ten Mile River).The opener in this area will be preceded by a 64-hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on Dec. 26. The area between Ten Mile River and Shelter Cove will remain closed until,,, Read the press release here 17:46

Crab pots set to drop

dungeness-crabSpirits were high at the Crescent City Harbor as fishermen prepared crab pots and loaded gear onto boats Friday.  Del Norte’s commercial Dungeness fishery is scheduled to open on time next week despite a delay to the season between according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Local crabbers will be able to drop their pots at 8 a.m. Monday and retrieve their catch starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. “We’re very excited to go fishing after the catastrophe last year,” said Richard Nehmer, who was loading more than 400 crab pots onto his fishing vessel, “Resolution.” “The crab were excellent quality when they did the pre-season quality test,” Nehmer said. “They’re ready to harvest.” Last year’s delay to the crab fishery left many in the industry, including local fisherman Mike Diehl, struggling to make ends meet. “Right now I’m six months behind in rent,” Diehl said. “I used to have a pickup truck and a couple cars; I’ve had to sell off most of that stuff. I’ve pretty much been living without any heat in the house for the last four or five months, which was OK until this last month. There’s no money to be spent on anything; no Christmas, reduced birthdays.” Read the story here 11:16

Commercial Dungeness crab season to open throughout most of the Southern Fishery; one area will remain closed

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, commercial Dungeness crab season will open from Point Reyes in Marin County south, the dungenesscrab (CDFW) announced. But at the recommendation of state health agencies, the CDFW Director is moving to close the commercial Dungeness crab fishery between Point Reyes and the Sonoma/Mendocino County line and to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point in San Mateo County. This has the effect of closing approximately 60 miles of coastline to commercial Dungeness crab fishing that otherwise would have opened on Nov. 15. The fishery north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line is not scheduled to open until Dec. 1. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery had been scheduled to open all the way up to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (about 60 miles north of Point Reyes) on Nov. 15 and the rock crab fishery is otherwise open year round, but some crabs collected and tested showed elevated levels of domoic acid. The naturally occurring toxin can sicken people who consume crab. Read the rest here 08:08