Tag Archives: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

CDFW’s Salmon Evacuation Decision Pays Exceptional Dividends

In February 2017, damage to the Oroville Dam’s spillways prompted the evacuation of more than 180,000 people living downstream along the Feather River. The raging muddy waters also triggered an emergency decision to relocate millions of young salmon from the Feather River Hatchery to the Thermalito Annex Hatchery to be raised and held until river water conditions improved. Most, if not all, of the young salmon would have otherwise died when mud from the raging river overwhelmed the hatchery waters. >click to read< 08:39

California agrees with crabbers to postpone Dungeness crab season

Bodega Bay’s commercial fishing fleet succeeded Wednesday in persuading state wildlife officials to postpone the opening of Dungeness crab season to safeguard protected whales species still lingering in the fishing grounds. In a move at the behest of the crab industry, Chuck Bonham, the state fish and wildlife director, agreed to push back the season opener to Dec. 15. Crab fishing was slated to open Friday along the coast from Sonoma to San Mateo counties.  The decision is subject to two days of public comment ending Friday afternoon. >click to read< 07:17

Dungeness Crab season’s delay causing instability

Randy Smith stood on the harbor sidewalk talking with a group of fellow fishermen, their large commercial fishing boats – piled high with empty crab traps – swaying at the docks. They had hoped to be fishing by now, but instead are left deciding where to go. Smith’s crew of five had planned to fish in their home waters during the holidays, but with the crabbing season delayed, they’re preparing for two months down south in his boat, the Mistasea.  >click to read< 06:48

Dungeness crab season may be delayed

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife made the announcement Friday in response to a settlement with an environmental group over whale entanglements in commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear.,,, Even if the eight-day delay to the commercial season happens, it should not disrupt the Bay Area tradition of cracked Dungeness crab on the Thanksgiving table, said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. However, it would cut into a peak period for the local fishing fleet, >click to read< 08:02

California fishermen report the biggest salmon season in a decade

California commercial fishermen are reporting the biggest king salmon season in a decade, on the heels of three years of disastrously low catches because of the drought. The sudden bounty has resulted in a price drop for the coral-pink, fatty fillets to $20 per pound in many markets, down from the $30- to $35-per-pound range of recent years. “You might say this is the old normal, because we’ve been so used to catastrophe,” said Noah Oppenheim, >click to read<19:37

Commercial salmon season starts in Crescent City

Commercial salmon fishermen in Crescent City began their season on Saturday with a quota of 20 chinook per day and a monthly quota of 2,500, according to Crescent City Harbor Commissioner and Del Norte Fisherman’s Association president Rick Shepherd. The 20-fish-per-day quota and monthly quota of 2,500 applies to trawlers fishing between the Oregon border and the Humboldt South Jetty, said Shepherd, whose boat is one of roughly six in Crescent City that fish for chinook. The fleet is able to ply its trade on the ocean five days a week Friday through Tuesday. While a few fish have been brought into Eureka, so far no one has brought any salmon into the local harbor, Shepherd said. >click to read>07:50

Epic catch brings tons of fresh fish to the Central Coast

Salmon are running in epic numbers this year off the Central Coast, and that means lots of fresh fish for commercial fishermen and hungry customers.
This year’s salmon season, which started commercially on May 1, is the best local fishermen have seen in 20 years.  “It’s like Christmas for us,” DeGarimore said. “This is the biggest salmon catch we’ve had in the past two decades. We’re all really excited to see the boats coming in. Tourists are taking photos. Salmon are beautiful fish, and they make spectacular fillets. >click to read<15:14

PFMC Officials: No Sardine Fishing Off California This Year Due to Steep Population Decline

West coast regulators have voted unanimously to ban commercial sardine fishing for the fifth straight year after a recent evaluation of the northern Pacific stock revealed a steep decline. The ban on commercial sardine catch spans the entire length of the U.S. West Coast.,,, A new assessment of northern Pacific sardine stocks by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).,,, Not all fishermen agree with the decision to keep the sardine fishery shuttered. Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director- California Wetfish Producers Association, said NOAA’s sardine survey under-counts the fish, and that the fishermen she hears from are noticing a comeback. >click to read<10:59

‘We Were Blindsided:’ Crab Fishing Closure Could Mean Millions in Losses

At the April 9 Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting, the security check-in station resembled a metropolitan airport with a long line of people stretched out the courthouse doors and halfway down the stairs to Fifth Street. All seats in the chamber were filled, the space between the chairs and the wall was filled with people standing, and others waited outside the door for a chance to speak. The source of the commotion was a sudden and unexpected closure of the Dungeness crab fishery. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had ordered all crab fishermen throughout the state to remove their gear from the ocean by April 15. >click to read<14:40

At Humboldt County Board of Supervisors – Blindsided Crabbers Congregate

As the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting got underway at its normal 9 a.m. start time, there was still a line of people extending out the front door,,, local crab fishermen who had shown up in force to support a resolution aimed at saving the local fishery from “devastating economic harm,” The threat comes in the form of a recent CBD – PCFFA settlement,,, “We were blindsided by this ruling,” said crab fisherman Zach Rotwein of Trinidad.,,, Pacific Choice Seafoods General Manager Rick Harris said his company recently made a $1.2 million investment,,, “This is a travesty and a disaster for the community,” said crab fisherman Patrick Davis, who owns two fishing boats and employs “eight or nine guys.” >click to read<22:49

California – Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Close Statewide April 15

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to close the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide at 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2019 due to increased whale entanglement risk anticipated for the spring and summer months. ,,,, Therefore, the Director has declared that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery will close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019.  For more information >click to read<10:08

Harbor responds to whale entanglement settlement, give crabbers extra free time to store gear

Recognizing they had the “rug pulled out from under them” due to the outcome of a lawsuit over whale and sea turtle entanglements, Crescent City Harbor commissioners have given the local Dungeness fleet extra time to store their crab pots for free at the port. Commissioners voted 4-0-1 Thursday to allow fishermen to store their pots for free from April 1 to May 15. The Harbor District’s decision comes after the Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement agreement with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to end the current commercial Dungeness season statewide three months early on April 15. >click to read<10:21

California Crabbers Could Feel the Pain, State Reaches Tentative Agreement With Enviro Group Over Whale Entanglement

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity have tentatively agreed to settle an ongoing lawsuit, which claims that the state’s lack of action in preventing whales from becoming entangled in commercial crabbing lines violates the Endangered Species Act.,,, The Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit in 2017 after a record number of entangled whales were observed off the coast of the Western United States between 2014 and 2016. >click to read<08:55

West Coast Fishermen cautiously optimistic for strong salmon season

After three difficult years when Chinook salmon population numbers were down and fishing opportunities were limited, commercial fishermen are hoping that the upcoming season will be better. “What we’re seeing is a better forecast of salmon in the ocean this year than we saw last year,” said Harry Morse, public information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, following a meeting with about 85 commercial and recreational anglers on Wednesday in Santa Rosa. “We’re cautiously optimistic.” >click to read<10:31

California could be held liable for whale entanglements

The Center for Biological Diversity is hopeful its lawsuit filed over whale and sea turtle entanglements is nearing its conclusion after a federal judge suggested she may find the California Department of Fish and Wildlife liable for the entanglements, a center spokesman said.,,, The two parties have until March 13 to work out their differences and report back to the judge. If no settlement is reached, the judge will issue a finding. >click to read<12:17

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delay Extended

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham announced an additional and final 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Pending possible closures due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the season is now set to begin on Jan. 15, 2019. Quality tests as prescribed by the Pre-Season Testing Protocol for the Tri-State Coastal Dungeness Commercial Fishery were scheduled to occur this week, but rough ocean conditions prevented vessels from safely deploying and retrieving traps. This protocol requires that tested crab achieve a meat recovery rate to ensure that crab are ready for harvest. Previous quality test results from Dungeness crab collected on Nov. 3 and Dec. 4 indicated that crab did not have enough meat. Without any passing test results from these areas, the Director continued to delay the season to Jan. 15, the final date a quality delay can be set to occur. >click to read<

McGuire tackles crabbing, whale entanglement issues at committee hearing

“Domoic acid levels in the Pacific this year have been trending upwards, especially in Northern California,” McGuire said at the start of the hearing, held at Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. “Humboldt, Del Norte and southern Oregon have appeared as hot spots along the West Coast.” And while the 2015 crabbing season and spike in entanglements was one of the more talked-about issues during the hearing, McGuire added, “We do not expect another statewide closure like we saw in 2015.” This year alone, there have been 27 confirmed whale entanglements. That’s down from the 71 reported in 2016, but it is still more than double the state average.>click to read<10:31

California seeks plan to protect whales and Dungeness crab fishery

Whales are a big deal, literally, as the most majestic, largest animals swimming off our shore. What the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has done in the past several years with our partners to prevent whale entanglements in fishing gear is a big deal, too.,, That is why our department is taking actions to protect the whales and our prized crab fishery. The department is working to create a conservation plan that will analyze the effects of crab fishing on whales, identify steps to minimize the risk of whale entanglements in the crab fishing gear, secure funding to implement the plan, and submit it to the federal government for needed approval. >click to read<12:14

Salmon surge: Habitat improvements paying off on one California river

Near record numbers of chinook salmon are surging up the Mokelumne River, marking the second large spawning year in a row and signaling to fisheries biologists that habitat improvements in recent years are paying off for fish and the people who eat the pinkish delicacies.,,,It is expected to be the best two-year run on the river since records started being kept in 1940, a significant accomplishment given how dismal salmon returns have been over the past three years in virtually every other waterway in California, including the Sacramento River, which last year saw its lowest returns in eight years. >click to read<08:58

Commercial Dungeness crab season delayed in Northern California

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a memo Tuesday delaying the Northern California commercial Dungeness crab season due to poor crab meat quality test results. The delay includes Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The northern Dungeness crab fishery is delayed until 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec.16, pending another round of test results tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1. If these results indicate good quality, the fishery will open and be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13. >click to read<12:13

New regulations for commercial Dungeness crab fishery now in effect

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife enacted new regulations to reduce the risk of marine life entanglements in commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear. These regulations became effective on Oct. 30, 2018, and will be in place for the upcoming 2018-19 commercial Dungeness crab season. The new regulations allow no more than two trailer buoys to be used at the surface and establish a maximum distance between the front end of the main buoy to the tail end of the last trailer buoy depending on the depth that a trap is deployed. >click to read<11:34

Counting down to Thanksgiving crab? It won’t be long now

This year, state regulators are opening the main fishery on time but only as far north as Bodega Head while they await a second round of test results from sample crabs taken off the mouth of the Russian River, where a single shellfish collected late last month had elevated levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring neurotoxin. The six-crab sample taken a week later tested well within federal limits for the algae-related substance. A second consecutive round of tests is needed before the area can be declared clean and the rest of the Sonoma Coast opened to commercial crabbing. >click to read<13:01

California Dungeness crab season faces delays in parts of state

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season has been delayed until at least Dec. 1 in the waters north of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line because of elevated levels of domoic acid, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today. The commercial fishery south of this area will open as scheduled Thursday, however. >click to read<10:51

Fisheries Omnibus Bill of 2018 – California Lawmakers Act to Protect Whales, Turtles From Entanglement

The California Senate yesterday sent legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign that requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt regulations to prevent whales and sea turtles from being entangled in commercial Dungeness crab lines. West Coast entanglements have skyrocketed in recent years. California commercial Dungeness crab gear is responsible for the majority of entanglements where the gear could be identified, entangling at least 35 whales from 2015 to 2017. Senate Bill 1309 responded to the crisis by requiring regulations by November 1, 2020, and directing the department to restrict fishing as needed until then to prevent a significant risk of entanglements. >click to read<20:33

Crabbers to get federal disaster relief

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has proposed a spending plan for federal Dungeness Crab disaster relief funding after taking input from fishermen, processors and charter boat operators. The state’s 2015 to 2016 commercial Dungeness and rock crab seasons were declared as fisheries disasters after being drastically curtailed due to algae blooms and the domoic acid toxin they produced. Approval of $28.8 million in federal relief funding was gained last June, with most of it covering Dungeness losses. Based on guidelines from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and feedback from industry stakeholders, CDFW proposes that 89 percent of the relief funding be spent on “direct payments” to commercial fishermen, buyer/processors and sport charter boat operations. >click to read<19:31

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