California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Marine Management News: March 2002

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March 2002 Issue

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List of Articles


New Book Explores Status of California's Marine Resources

by Chamois L. Andersen, Information Officer

A new 592-page book entitled California's Living Marine Resources: A Status Report provides scientific information on the current state of more than 150 marine species. The new book, published by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in collaboration with the University of California's Sea Grant Program, examines many aspects of California's commercial fishing business as well as the status of the state's recreational fisheries.

"Fish and fishing are essential to the life and livelihoods of many Californians," said DFG Director Robert C. Hight. "As demands for fish and other marine stocks increase - for consumption, recreation, industry and environmental conservation - areas of the Pacific Ocean that were once fish-abundant have come under increased pressure. We need informed management strategies for California's ocean resources, and that is the kind of information the status of the fisheries report is designed to provide."

The book includes the writings of more than 125 leading marine scientists affiliated with well-known natural resource organizations, including scientists from DFG, University of California (UC) and California State University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and numerous private organizations.

The "blue book project" was identified under landmark legislation known as the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) of 1998. "This book will serve as the vehicle for resource managers to evaluate the effectiveness of California's fishery management programs," said Patricia Wolf, manager of the DFG's Marine Region.

The California Fish and Game Commission, fishery managers, and other decision makers will benefit from the report by using the information for their regulatory decisions. Previous status of the fisheries reports have been widely used to manage marine resources. The last book was produced in 1992.

The current edition is organized according to California's three major ocean ecosystems - bays and estuaries, the nearshore and offshore ecosystems. The book also includes colorful topographical maps, landings tables, photographs of dozens of fish and shellfish species (many in their natural habitats), illustrations of commercial fishing gear types, a glossary, and an index for locating individual species within the report. Under the MLMA, DFG will produce subsequent annual reports that cover one-quarter of the state's fisheries.

The book is available for purchase from UC or as a free download from DFG's website. California's Living Marine Resources: A Status Report (ANR Publication #SG01-11) can be purchased for $25 (plus tax and shipping) from the Agriculture and Natural Resources Communication Services, University of California, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94608; Tel: (800) 994-8849; website: Go to DFG's website at to download a free copy of the book.

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2002 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations Available

by Ed Roberts, Marine Biologist

The California sport fishing regulations have been divided into two separate booklets, one for inland waters and one for ocean waters off California. The new Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet contains many helpful features to aid the saltwater angler, including over 40 pictures and drawings of California marine fishes, an index to applicable regulations by species, a map depicting rockfish and lingcod management areas, and illustrations demonstrating the correct methods to measure catch. The following sections were unintentionally omitted from the booklet, but remain in effect. There are no changes in either of these two sections from the previous year.

28.26. California sheephead.

  1. Open season and area: Open all year except California sheephead shall not be taken or possessed in waters 20 fathoms or greater in depth in the cowcod closure areas.
  2. Limit: Five.
  3. Minimum size: Twelve inches total length.

28.30. Kelp bass, barred sand bass, and spotted sand bass.

  1. Minimum size: 12 inches total length or 8 ½ inches alternate length.
  2. Limit: 10 in any combination of species.

630.5 Uses in the following four Marine Resources Protection Act Ecological Reserves are restricted to authorized scientific research:

  • King Range (Punta Gorda) MRPA Ecological Reserve, Humboldt County
    Waters 3 fathoms (18 feet) and greater in depth to a maximum of 30 fathoms (180 feet) in depth between a line extending 235 degrees magnetic from the rectangular structure of the Punta Gorda Lighthouse, and a line extending 252 degrees magnetic from a point on the mainland shore three quarters of a mile north of Punta Gorda, said line extending through Christmas Tree Rock.
  • Big Creek MRPA Ecological Reserve, Monterey County
    Waters 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less in depth between a line extending 252 degrees magnetic from the northern boundary of the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve, and a line extending 252 degrees magnetic from the southern boundary of the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve.
  • Vandenberg MRPA Ecological Reserve, Santa Barbara County
    Waters 10 fathoms (60 feet) or less in depth between a line extending 260 degrees magnetic from the mouth of Oil Well Canyon, and a line extending 230 degrees magnetic from Point Pedernales, which does not include Destroyer Rock.
  • Big Sycamore Canyon MRPA Ecological Reserve, Ventura County
    Waters 5 fathoms (30 feet) and greater in depth to a maximum of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth between a line extending 200 degrees magnetic from a point on the mainland shore 1.2 miles northwest of Big Sycamore Canyon, and a line extending 166 degrees from a point on the mainland shore located at the mouth of the unnamed canyon lying 0.8 miles southeast of Big Sycamore Canyon.

Additionally, disregard Section 2.00 - reference Section 28.65 instead. A complete version of the 2002 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations is available online at:

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New Requirements for Renewing a Nearshore Fishery Permit

by Traci Bishop, Associate Marine Biologist

Nearshore Advisory Committee members and concerned fishermen proposed a regulation aimed at limiting the large untapped fishing potential resulting from inactive nearshore permits. Concerns were raised that increasing restrictions in other fisheries might cause inactive permittees to become active. This would be hard on the active nearshore permittees who saw a decrease in fishing days for sheephead, cabezon and greenlings in 2001, as well as an early closure to their season because the allowable catch for some species had been met.

At the December 2001 meeting, the Fish and Game Commission adopted the following amendments to Section 150, Title 14, of the California Code of Regulations. Permittees must have purchased a 2001 - 2002 Nearshore Fishery Permit AND have 100 pounds of cumulative nearshore fish landings from 1994 - 2000 to qualify for a 2002 -2003 Nearshore Fishery Permit. The nine nearshore fish species included are black-and-yellow rockfish, gopher rockfish, kelp rockfish, California scorpionfish, kelp and rock greenlings, China rockfish, grass rockfish, California sheephead and cabezon. Eligible permittees were notified by mail in February and received permit renewal information.

If you have been notified that you qualify for permit renewal, your permit application must be postmarked by June 30, 2002, or July 31, 2002 with a $50 late fee, in order to be issued a 2002 -2003 permit. If you have been notified that you do not qualify for a permit renewal you must return the permit application by June 30, 2002, along with a letter requesting review and copies of landing receipts or other material that support your case. Appeals should be addressed to Marine Region/License and Revenue Branch, 3211 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95816.

If you have questions about the new Nearshore Fishery Permit requirements please contact Traci Bishop by phone at (805) 568-1323 or via e-mail at

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Upcoming Public Meetings to Discuss Nearshore Restricted Access Options

by Traci Bishop, Associate Marine Biologist

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is developing a restricted access program for the nearshore fishery to be implemented for the 2003 - 2004 fishing season. The DFG has developed a suite of program options by proposed region and will be presenting them to the public at several meetings scheduled for the end of March. All permittees will be notified by mail of the upcoming meetings and receive a copy of the proposed program options.

Last year, the nearshore restricted access team met with small groups of fishermen up and down the coast. The team learned how the fishery operates in different areas and what participants are looking for in a restricted access program. Based on these talks and other input, the team has put together a suite of options for each proposed region, ranging from basic limited entry to an individual fishing shares (IFS) program.

A basic limited entry program uses qualifying criteria (for example 500 pounds landed in three years between 1994 and 1999 or average price per pound of $3.00) to limit the number of participants in the fishery. Each permittee would have equal access to the region's allowable catch or quota. When the quota is reached, fishing would cease within the region.

An IFS program would give qualifying permittees a portion or share of the region's allowable catch. The amount of shares would vary among individuals depending upon past participation in the fishery. Individuals would be allowed to buy, sell or lease shares, within limits, to other permittees. This allows the permittees to determine when and where they fish.

Another program under consideration, is a stackable tiered system which is similar to an IFS program. Permittees would be placed in tiers based on historical participation in the fishery. Within a tier, each permittee would have an equal share of the tier's quota. Like an IFS program, individuals would be allowed to buy, sell or lease shares, within limits to other permittees.

The DFG is soliciting input on these options, and would like to hear your views. The March 2002 meeting schedule includes:

  • Eureka - Fri., March 15, 7-10 p.m.
    Eureka Public Marina, Great Room
    1 Marina Way, Eureka CA 95501
  • Morro Bay - Tues., March 19, 7-10 p.m.
    Veteran's Memorial Building, Assembly Room
    209 Surf St., Morro Bay CA 93442
  • Ventura - Thurs., March 21, 7-10 p.m.
    Ventura, Veteran's of Foreign Wars
    3801 Market St., Ventura CA 93003
  • Dana Pt. - Sat., March 23, 2-5 p.m.
    City of Dana Point, Recreation Department,
    34052 Del Obispo Rd., Dana Pt. CA 92629
  • Oakland - Mon., March 25, 7-10 p.m.
    Oakland, Elihu Harris State Building, Auditorium
    1515 Clay St, Oakland CA 94612
  • Monterey - Wed., March 27, 7-10 p.m.
    Monterey, Seaside Oldemeyer Multi-Use Center
    986 Hilby Ave. Seaside CA 93955

If you have any questions about these meetings or the proposed restricted access program for the nearshore fishery, please contact: Ms. Traci Bishop by phone at (805) 568-1323 or via e-mail at

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Marine Life Protection Act: Working Group Process


The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) requires the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to develop a Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in California. This plan must include information on specific site recommendations, implementation and phasing, funding, monitoring, enforcement and management. The MLPA contains specific goals for MPAs including, but not limited to:

  • Protect ecosystems
  • Protect marine habitats
  • Sustain marine life populations
  • Improve the existing array of MPAs
  • Ensure that the new system functions, to the extent possible, as a network

In late June 2001, DFG introduced Initial Draft Concepts (Concepts) for MPAs to meet the MLPA goals and requirements. These Concepts were developed with the assistance of a Planning Team as required by the MLPA. While some public input was acquired prior to the release of the Concepts, they were intended as a starting point to gather more public input and develop the final Master Plan. Ten public workhops were held in July 2001 to begin this public input process.

One of the most frequent and important comments given at these meetings was that DFG had not effectively involved the public in early planning, and that future drafts needed to have significant levels of constituent input. In an effort to address these concerns, DFG held informal small group meetings with various constituent groups in the Fall 2001, and will hold a series of facilitated constituent workshops in 2002. The small group meetings were used to inform constituents of the MLPA process and time line, gather information on general concerns, and discuss potential processes to complete the MLPA Master Plan, as well as specific alternatives for MPA siting.

Summaries of the July meetings and small group meetings can be found on the DFG MLPA website and as hard copies at DFG offices. The website is one way to stay involved and informed as the MLPA process continues. Updates and various siting alternatives will be provided as they are developed.

The MLPA website address is:

As the next step, DFG will launch a series of facilitated constituent workshops. These workshops will provide a more formal forum for constituent input. The DFG plans to establish one or two groups in each of four planning regions, with representatives from recreational and commercial fishing, diving, environmental, ecotourism interests, harbor districts, scientists, research/education and military organizations.

The DFG and Planning Team have reviewed the tremendous number of comments received through the July public workshops, small group meetings, e-mails, faxes, letters, and phone calls. Using this input, DFG will launch a stepwise process to develop the MLPA Master Plan. The process seeks to directly involve a broad range of constituents in the planning of preferred and alternative sites, as well as developing implementation, phasing, monitoring, and management strategies. The starting point will be to review the overall goals, objectives, and intent of the MLPA, and then ask constituents to develop new options for MPA siting. The key points of this process and the steps for completing the draft Master Plan are detailed on the following pages.

A Stepwise Process

In order to adequately address constituent concerns, allow for detailed discussion, and fulfill the requirements of the MLPA, a stepwise process will be used. This approach will ask for input on specific portions of the MLPA Master Plan. Through facilitated regional workshops, the goals of the MLPA will be reviewed, and alternatives for MPA sites will be developed from the ground up. These steps are outlined here.

How to Involve People

An important part of the process will be a series of facilitated regional workshops. A neutral facilitator will develop the meeting format and agenda and moderate the meetings to help ensure fair, open, and productive workshops. The workshops will be held regionally and seek constructive input on the development of the MLPA Master Plan.

Who to Involve

While the workshops will be open to the public, comments will be received through constituent representatives to allow a working discussion.

Regional Working Groups will be chosen for the following areas:

  • The Oregon Border to Shelter Cove
  • Shelter Cove to Pt. Arena
  • Pt. Arena to Pt. Año Nuevo
  • Pt. Año Nuevo to Pt. Sur
  • Pt. Sur to Pt. Conception*
  • Pt. Arguello to Pt. Fermin*
  • Pt. Dume to the Mexican Border*

*These regional groups overlap due to access from ports both north and south of these areas.

Working Groups will be comprised of representatives from various constituencies. While Working Groups will vary from region to region, a balanced representation of interested parties will be sought for all regions. Final Working Group member choices will depend on nominations and suggestions for each region. Regional Working Group membership will be limited to approximately 15 representatives.

Panel Representatives may include:

  • Kelp Harvesting
  • Commercial Fishing
  • Scientific Collecting
  • CPFV (Charter/Party Boats)
  • Recreational Angling
  • Recreational Diving
  • Non-Consumptive Recreation
  • Environmental Groups
  • Coastal Communities
  • University Scientists
  • Research-Education
  • US Department of Defense

Certain State and Federal agencies or organizations will be represented either on the Working Groups, or as consultants at the meetings. These include: DFG (including the Planning Team), the Coastal Commission, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Marine Sanctuaries, the National Park Service, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The individual agencies will choose representatives for these groups.

How are Representatives Chosen?

The DFG is seeking nominations for representatives to the regional Working Groups. These nominations should be made in writing to: "MLPA Nominations", CDFG, 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940, or by e-mail to: Nominations will be accepted until March 15, 2002. Nomination should include:

  • Name of Nominee
  • Constituent group they represent
  • Brief rationale / qualifications
  • Contact information
  • Name of the person or group making the nomination

The Director of the DFG will select Regional Working Group members based on the following criteria: how well the nominee represents a constituency, knowledge of the issues and process, and time availability. Selection is expected to be completed during March 2002. Regional meetings will begin in April.

What are the Major Issues?

The single most common concern from all parties is the overall scope of the MPA network. The other major issues expressed include: clarifying the legal mandates and requirements of the MLPA, proximity of MPAs to ports or major access points, the relative need for protection in various regions, the current levels of use in particular areas, the scientific value of MPAs, and safety concerns including transit and anchoring issues. These and other issues will be discussed at the workshops.

Step I - Establish Regional Working Groups

Seven Regional Working Groups will be chosen to represent various constituencies at planning workshops.

Step II - Review MLPA Guidelines and Establish a Process Schedule

The first set of Regional workshops will begin in April 2002. The primary goal of these workshops is to discuss the MLPA requirements, interpretation of the MLPA mandate, the issues above, and the components of alternatives for the MLPA Master Plan. Progress of DFG on the MLPA will be reviewed and discussed, as well as the basic process to complete the Master Plan. The MLPA goals will be analyzed, as well as potential methods to meet them. The final time line and process for future workshops will be decided. Based on these discussions, representatives will be asked to draft MPA siting alternatives for the second set of workshops.

Step III - Discussion of Alternatives

The second set of workshops will focus on spatial alternatives for MPA networks provided by panel representatives. Representatives will be asked to bring their constituencies' ideas and spatial alternatives forward. The issues of implementation, monitoring, management and funding may also be discussed. Specific agenda items will depend on plans developed during the first set of workshops.

Step IV - Determine an Initial Range of Alternatives

From these discussions, potential spatial alternatives will be developed. The alternatives will represent the range of constituent views discussed at the workshops. The range will be narrowed, to the extent possible, to facilitate review.

Step V - Socioeconomic and Scientific Review

A critical step in the process will be a technical review of spatial alternatives. Scientific review will be provided by the Planning Team, as well as by external peer reviewers. External peer review of draft alternatives will provide critical input on the ecological value and potential fishery benefits of various alternatives.

The DFG will support socioeconomic information gathering and analyses throughout the process. During the first two steps, social and economic experts will compile and analyze available information. During step three, the experts will analyze the spatial alternatives and provide information on potential impacts.

Step VI - Discussion of Reviews and Alternatives

The sixth step will revisit the spatial alternatives and focus discussion on the socioeconomic and scientific reviews. These discussions will be in the form of another set of workshops, larger public forums, or both, depending on constituent recommendations in step one. Final changes to the range of alternatives will be made based on these discussions. Additional discussion will focus on how best to implement the various alternatives, what types of monitoring are required, and whether certain portions should be completed prior to others through phasing. Based on these discussions DFG will draft the Master Plan, including a preferred and alternative MPA networks.

Step VII - Final Draft Presentation and Review

The final step will be the presentation of the draft Master Plan and regulatory language to the Commission, due January 1, 2003. This plan will comply with the California Environmental Quality Act as a functional equivalent to an Environmental Impact Report. It will provide the proposed project, alternatives, and potential effects to the environment. This begins the Commission process for public review prior to adoption of the Master Plan.

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Control Date for Other Nearshore Species Proposed

by Traci Bishop, Associate Marine Biologist

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has proposed adopting a control date for the other nearshore species that do not currently require a permit. These species include monkeyface prickleback (eel), and black, blue, brown, calico, copper, olive, and quillback rockfish. Should DFG decide to develop a restricted access program for these species, fishermen would need to demonstrate participation in the fishery prior to the control date. In addition, should a gear endorsement program be developed for this fishery, fishermen would also have to demonstrate use of certain gears prior to the control date to be eligible for any gear endorsement program.

The DFG is asking for a control date of either December 31, 2001 or March 8, 2002. However, any restricted access program probably would not be developed until after DFG receives authority for managing these species from the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. This transfer of authority will likely occur in late 2003 or early 2004.

This control date was developed at the request of nearshore fishermen and Nearshore Advisory Committee members who felt that increasing restrictions in the shelf and slope groundfish fisheries might lead to increased effort in this sector of the nearshore fishery.

The Fish and Game Commission will first hear this request for a control date at the March 7 - 8 meeting in San Diego. There will be a discussion meeting on April 5 in Long Beach with adoption of a control date set for May 9, 2002 in Fresno. If you have any questions about this proposed control date, please contact Ms. Traci Bishop by phone at (805) 568-1323 or via e-mail at

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Abalone Recovery and Management Plan

by Jonathan Ramsay, Marine Biologist

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) abalone staff, the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) advisory panel, and members of the Recreational Abalone Advisory Committee will attend a workshop on March 15, 2002 in Oakland, at the Elihu Harris State Building. The purpose of this workshop is to address the management of northern California's red abalone fishery, and to help develop the management portion of the draft ARMP.

Since the November 16, 2001 ARMP advisory panel workshop, which focused on recovery of Southern California abalone populations, DFG abalone staff have been incorporating panel input and suggestions into the recovery sections of the draft ARMP. To view a summary of the November workshop, information on abalone resources, and the constituent involvement time line for the ARMP, visit the DFG website at

As always, workshops are open to the public, and a limited amount of time will be made available to receive informal public comments from members of the workshop audience. We anticipate making a draft of the ARMP available for public review in late Spring of 2002. A town hall meeting may also be scheduled in the Summer of 2002 to receive further public input on the working draft of the ARMP. The public is welcome to comment at any time on all aspects of the ARMP, including the public involvement process. Written comments may be sent on an informal basis to: Mr. Pete Haaker, CDFG, 4665 Lampson Avenue, Los Alamitos, CA 90702.

For more information about the ARMP and how to get involved, please contact: Ms. Diana Watters at (650) 631-2535 or

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Market Squid Fishery Management Plan

by Annette Henry, Marine Biologist

The draft Market Squid Fishery Management Plan (MSFMP) will be published on the DFG website by April 2002 for public review and comment. The public is encouraged to send comments to:

Annette E. Henry
8604 La Jolla Shores Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 546-5680
Fax: (858) 546-7116

After a public review period, the revised plan will be submitted to the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) in August 2002. It is anticipated that the Commission will take public comments on the MSFMP at each of their Fall meetings and will adopt the final plan by December 31, 2002. The Draft will include management options for the fishery including a detailed description of the fishery, regulations, socio-economic considerations, implementation costs, and management options.

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Q's & A's Concerning the 2002 Sport Fishing Regulations*

Question: Will fishing be closed in Southern and Central California again this year? If so, what species will be affected, and how long will the closures last?

Answer: Yes. The Central Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area (which includes all waters between Cape Mendocino and Point Conception) will be closed during March-June and September-December, inclusive. The Southern California Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area (which includes all waters between Point Conception and the U.S./Mexico border, including the Cowcod Closure Areas) will be closed during January-February and November-December, inclusive.

However, during the May-June and September-October closure periods in waters less than 20 fathoms in depth, fishing and possession of fish ARE allowed (with special restrictions) for lingcod, ocean whitefish, some rockfish, and California scorpionfish. This includes waters along the mainland coast and around offshore islands and rocks (excluding reefs and banks).

For all the particulars, pick up a copy of the 2002 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations or go online at

Question: During the closure periods, I understand that the restricted species may not be taken or possessed by a person aboard a vessel. However, "vessel" is not defined in the regulations. Would a single kayaker only under paddle power be considered on a "vessel?" Or is this intended to mean "commercial fishing vessel" as is commonly used elsewhere in the regs?

Answer: A vessel is defined as any watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water (reference Section 9840(a), California Vehicle Code.) This interpretation encompasses kayaks and canoes and even goes so far as to cover float tubes. If you're a diver and planning to spearfish during the closures, you're allowed to tow the tube with your goody bags and gear out to the point where you'll ascend to start your dive, but you're technically not allowed to use the tubes as a floatation device to get to and from your dive site.

The closures mentioned above do not apply to shore anglers and divers with spearguns, but all general bag and size limits do apply.

*Previously published in the DFG Q&A column in Western Outdoor News in the February 15, 2002 edition, submitted by Carrie Wilson.

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Calendar of Upcoming Meetings

Fish and Game Commission Meetings 2002

March 7-8
April 4-5
April 25
May 7-9
June 20-21
August 1-2
August 29-30
October 24-25
December 5-6
San Diego
Long Beach
South Lake Tahoe
San Luis Obispo
Crescent City

Pacific Fishery Management Council 2002

Meetings are subject to change. The following are for the week of:

March 11-15
April 8-12
June 16-21
September 9-13
November 4-8
Portland, Oregon
San Francisco
Portland, Oregon
San Francisco

For all of the latest information on upcoming meetings and events, please check out our calendar at or contact our DFG office in Monterey at (831) 649-2870.