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State-Managed California Commercial Pacific Herring Fishery
- CDFW Pacific Herring Management News
- California Commercial Herring Fisheries Information
- Opportunities for Public Involvement and Input
- For additional information on Pacific herring or to report a herring spawning event, please contact Ryan Bartling, CDFW Environmental Scientist at Ryan.Bartling@wildlife.ca.gov, or (707) 576-2877.
California herring fisheries occur during the spawning season as herring move into bays and estuaries along the coast. The roe herring gill net fisheries catch herring as they move into the shallows to spawn when the eggs have fully matured. The primary product from this fishery, kazunoko, is the sac roe (eggs) in the females which are processed and exported for sale to Japan. Historically, roe herring fisheries have occurred in the Crescent City area, Humboldt Bay, Tomales Bay, and San Francisco Bay. Currently, San Francisco has the only active herring fishery in California. Fishing for fresh fish is also permitted during the gill net fishery, though the market is relatively minor at this time.
The San Francisco Bay herring eggs-on-kelp fishery suspends giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, from rafts for herring to spawn on in shallow water areas. The kelp is harvested near the Channel Islands and/or in Monterey Bay and then transported to San Francisco Bay. The product of this fishery is the egg-coated kelp blades that are processed and exported to Japan. This product, komochi or kazunoko kombu, is typically served as an appetizer during New Year's celebrations.
California Environmental Quality Act and Annual Regulatory Process
- 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Document for Pacific Herring
- California Fish and Game Commission: Decisions Pending and Opportunities for Public Participation
The Pacific herring commercial regulations are updated every year. In addition, potential environmental impacts of the fishery are addressed each year in an environmental document, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Both the regulatory and CEQA processes provide the public with several opportunities each year to provide input to CDFW and the Commission on the management of California's Pacific herring resource.