California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine officers cited several boats for fishing in the Marine Protected Areas and other resource violations near the Channel Islands on Sunday.
Wildlife Officers from the CDFW patrol boat Swordfish, based in Ventura Harbor, contacted three private boats and one commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV) and found violations onboard all four boats.
Anglers on the private boats were cited for fishing inside a Marine Protected Area, fishing without a license, taking a rockfish in a closed area and two citations for taking rockfish in water deeper than 120 feet.
The fourth boat, Ranger 85, an 85-foot long CPFV was stopped and inspected at the Osborne Bank, 5 miles south of Santa Barbara Island, inside the Cowcod Conservation Area (CCA). Fishing in the CCA is restricted to depth of 120 feet or less. The boat was fishing at a depth of at least 170 feet.
The captain and five crew members were cited for multiple Fish and Game Code violations, including take of rockfish in closed waters, over limits of ocean whitefish and over limits of general fishing. The limit on ocean whitefish is 10 per day per angler and the boat had 371 ocean whitefish, 195 assorted rockfish, 12 sheephead and 33 boccacio for 30 anglers, and a total of 611 fish, well over the legal limits.
“The Marine Protected Areas were established to help fish species recover and thrive,” said Lt. Wes Boyle, captain of the Swordfish. “Every fisherman and boat captain needs to be 100 percent aware of the MPA areas and boundaries.”
The captain was also cited for a logbook violation.
The Swordfish returned to Ventura Harbor and with the help of several local wildlife officers made arraignments to donate the fish to several local food banks and charities.
In the first three months of this year the Swordfish has issued 39 citations, 33 of those were for fishing in an MPA, as well as five dock and shore citations for possession of undersized lobster, take of garibaldi, and commercial take of undersized sea urchin.