New Recreational Groundfish Regulations For 2021

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  • Oct 23, 2020
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    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces that multiple changes to the recreational groundfish regulations will take effect in the new year.

    CDFW worked closely with recreational stakeholders to develop the following changes, effective January 1, 2021. See CDFW’s summary of recreational groundfish regulations for Management Area boundary definitions.

    • Elimination of sub-bag limits for black rockfish, canary rockfish and cabezon within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex daily bag limit.
    • A new sub-bag limit of five vermilion rockfish within the 10-fish RCG complex daily bag limit.
    • The Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) boundary will increase to 30 fathoms (180 feet) in the Mendocino Management Area during the regular open season (May 1-October 31).
    • The RCA boundary will increase to 50 fathoms (300 feet) in the San Francisco Management Area during the open season (April 1-December 31).
    • The RCA boundary will increase to 100 fathoms (600 feet) in the Southern Management Area during the open season (March 1-December 31).
    • For consistency with federal regulations, the legal method of take for California scorpionfish has been updated such that no more than two hooks and one line may be used when angling for this species.
    • The ‘All Depth’ fishery in the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas will continue each November and December, unless modified by an in-season action.
    The new regulations were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in mid-October and the Pacific Fishery Management Council in July. Anglers should check CDFW’s website for the current regulations before fishing for groundfish and are advised that regulations printed in the 2020-21 ocean regulations book will be out of date starting January 1, 2021.

    The 30, 50 and 100 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 50, Part 660, Subpart C.

    Many of these changes were made in response to the outcomes of recent stock assessment science. Populations of yelloweye rockfish and cowcod, which were declared overfished in 2002 and 2000 respectively, are increasing faster than anticipated and the cowcod population was declared rebuilt based on the 2019 stock assessment.

    “The good news for 2021 is groundfish populations are rebounding,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Caroline McKnight. “Of the eight stocks that were declared overfished in the early 2000s, all but one, yelloweye rockfish, has been declared rebuilt today. The improved status of these species allows fishery managers to recommend management measures that provide additional fishing opportunity, including access to deeper depths that have been off limits to anglers for more than a decade.”

    The implementation of a new five-fish sub-bag limit for vermilion rockfish within the 10-fish RCG complex daily bag limit may come as a surprise to some anglers. Recreational catch of vermilion rockfish has increased significantly in recent years, but stock status information is dated. While a new stock assessment for vermilion rockfish is planned for 2021, the results won’t be available for use in management until 2023. In the interim, the new five-fish vermilion rockfish sub-bag limit has been implemented as a precautionary measure to slow catches.

    Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish remain prohibited statewide.

    For more detailed information on the new 2021 recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or visit CDFW’s summary of recreational groundfish fishing regulations for 2021. For background information on groundfish science and management, please visit CDFW’s Marine Region Groundfish webpage.
     
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    Phat Boat

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    Apr 18, 2004
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    Will the cow cod closed areas, like the 43, go away now that the cow cod stock is replenished? I have not seen much on this.
     
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    mhanson59hb

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  • Apr 22, 2013
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    The implementation of a new five-fish sub-bag limit for vermilion rockfish within the 10-fish RCG complex daily bag limit may come as a surprise to some anglers. Recreational catch of vermilion rockfish has increased significantly in recent years, but stock status information is dated.

    No surprize here. As always, more restrictions not based on actual science.

    I only keep a few anyways and am all for conservation, BUT:

    “It's getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous.”

    ― John Wayne
     
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    Fishing for Memories

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  • Oct 23, 2020
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    Not that deep!
    This does (I hope) open up a lot of spots that are on the wrong side of the 75 fathom waypoints line that are in less then 450 feet of water. The 75 fathom contour regulation wasn’t so simple. There were waypoints dictating the actual regulated areas eliminating fishable spots in less then 75 fathoms.
     
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    salty nuts

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  • Jun 2, 2004
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    So they give us depth and take 5 vermillions. Makes sense. Sure wonder how many vermillion floaters there will be with these new regs in place. Especially when you get on a spot of reds deep using 2 hooks.
     
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    robaire

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  • Jul 22, 2013
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    So they give us depth and take 5 vermillions. Makes sense. Sure wonder how many vermillion floaters there will be with these new regs in place. Especially when you get on a spot of reds deep using 2 hooks.


    That's why I feel all boats should have a means to drop em back down.
    All species of rockfish.

    JMHO
     
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    salty nuts

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  • Jun 2, 2004
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    That's why I feel all boats should have a means to drop em back down.
    All species of rockfish.

    JMHO

    Well I agree 100%...but what’s the survival rate of fish that have eyes popped out and stomachs popping out their mouth? I’m not 100% sure myself...
     
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    SMYLEE

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    That's why I feel all boats should have a means to drop em back down.
    All species of rockfish.

    JMHO
    Well I agree 100%...but what’s the survival rate of fish that have eyes popped out and stomachs popping out their mouth? I’m not 100% sure myself...
    They don't live. Descending devices are piontless. The blood has separated there dead. Think about it. If a human diver comes up to quickly and gets the bends we don't just tell them to swim back down again and come up slower.... no! All fish with blown eyes are dead. The descending device just allows us to feel better as we release them the bottom current takes them away. We've sent many down with a camera attached they never recover. Their blood has separated the gas out and they've basically been boiled, there dead. Nothing can recover from that
     
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    salty nuts

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  • Jun 2, 2004
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    They don't live. Descending devices are piontless. The blood has separated there dead. Think about it. If a human diver comes up to quickly and gets the bends we don't just tell them to swim back down again and come up slower.... no! All fish with blown eyes are dead. The descending device just allows us to feel better as we release them the bottom current takes them away. We've sent many down with a camera attached they never recover. Their blood has separated the gas out and they've basically been boiled, there dead. Nothing can recover from that

    That's what I figured.
     
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    Oldtimer2

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    I suspect that this is a stupid question, but I've not fished for rockfish in recent times (meaning many years ago).

    The regs say: Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish remain prohibited statewide.

    Here's the question: How the heck can you prevent these species from getting on your line when you drop to the bottom? Do you bottom fishers have secrets that keep them off (special bait, certain types of hooks, whatever?)

    If, as people say above, you can't let them go because they die, and if you catch them they are illegal (the rule says "take"), it seems like you are breaking the law without trying to. I don't get it....it seems like a catch22.

    So what is a fisherman supposed to do?
     
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    Hismosa

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  • Oct 15, 2016
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    They don't live. Descending devices are piontless. The blood has separated there dead. Think about it. If a human diver comes up to quickly and gets the bends we don't just tell them to swim back down again and come up slower.... no! All fish with blown eyes are dead. The descending device just allows us to feel better as we release them the bottom current takes them away. We've sent many down with a camera attached they never recover. Their blood has separated the gas out and they've basically been boiled, there dead. Nothing can recover from that
    A lot of studies say otherwise, its definitely not perfect but any chance of survival is better than none
     
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    bajachild

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    I suspect that this is a stupid question, but I've not fished for rockfish in recent times (meaning many years ago).

    The regs say: Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish remain prohibited statewide.

    Here's the question: How the heck can you prevent these species from getting on your line when you drop to the bottom? Do you bottom fishers have secrets that keep them off (special bait, certain types of hooks, whatever?)

    If, as people say above, you can't let them go because they die, and if you catch them they are illegal (the rule says "take"), it seems like you are breaking the law without trying to. I don't get it....it seems like a catch22.

    So what is a fisherman supposed to do?

    have a tool to send them back to the bottom. I sent a pig yellow eye down and then I saw a seal eating him. Go figure.
     
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    Bill W

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  • Jan 12, 2006
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    A lot of studies say otherwise, its definitely not perfect but any chance of survival is better than none

    The air bladder explodes. Ling cod survive the ascent, no air bladder.

    If you could pressurize a tank of salt water to 300 PSI that would take a fish down to 700 feet.
     
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    Tunaslam

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    Apr 25, 2003
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    Five Reds are plenty for anyone, has been five in Mexico forever. Lots of other Rockfish to eat. If in a high Red area move on.

    Bummer on no Cow Cod take, despite replenish of supply. Fishing 600 feet is going to kill more Cows for sure! Yelloweye are very plentiful up north, don't understand the no take, they should change it by area?
     
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    DOS BALLENAS

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  • Nov 25, 2005
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    The air bladder explodes.

    Incorrect. While not all fish that are descended survive electronic tagging studies have shown that up to 82% of the fish survive. But survival rates vary from species to species and depend on how quickly they are dropped back down.

    That said there are ongoing studies with fish brought into captivity looking into the long term affects of barotrauma.
     
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    DOS BALLENAS

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  • Nov 25, 2005
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    Abstract from one of the studies:

    Two experiments were used to assess the effects of barotrauma on initial capture survival and short-term postrecompression survival of line-caught (range 18–225 m) southern California rockfish (Sebastes spp.). Occurrence of external and internal signs of barotrauma was characterized across all species. Despite species-specific differences in the extent of barotrauma observed, initial capture survival of rockfish held in a live well for a 10-min period following capture was 68% overall (19 species, n = 168). Overall 2-day survival of rockfish following recompression in cages was also 68% (17 species, n = 257). Short-term survival varied across species (range 36% to 82%), as did the occurrence of external signs of barotrauma. The degree of external signs of barotrauma was not a significant predictor of initial capture survival or short-term survival. The most significant predictor of short-term survival was surface holding time, with short-term survival increasing with decreasing surface holding time. These results suggest that rapid recompression of rockfish can significantly decrease discard mortality and could potentially enhance rockfish conservation.
     
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    Deamon

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    Def catching more cows these days...my challenge is the larger they are, the more weight required to send them back down. And then, reeling that sum bitch weight back up...!!!
     
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