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California Cowcod Conservation Areas

The first stock assessment of cowcod was completed in 1999, resulting in it being declared "overfished". Soon after, management measures were taken by both state and federal agencies to curb the catch of cowcod statewide. The link opens in new windowSouthern California Bight is the area where cowcod are most abundant, where adult cowcod habitat is most common, and where catches are highest. In 2001, access to the continental shelf in the Southern California Bight was restricted by implementation of depth-based Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) that prohibit most bottom fishing.

The closed area includes a 4,200 square mile area (Area 1, or Western CCA) off the Palos Verdes Peninsula extending southwards about 90 miles and westward another 50 miles. A smaller area, the "43-fathom spot" (Area 2, or Eastern CCA), which lies 40 miles offshore of San Diego and extends northward and offshore to cover 100 square miles, was also designated a part of the closure area.

Cowcod are also managed as a no-retention fishery (i.e. take is prohibited) in the commercial and recreational sectors statewide.

Map

link opens in new windowPrintable Map of California Cowcod Conservation Areas (PDF)

Area Definitions

The CCAs are defined as ocean waters off Southern California within each of the following two areas:

Area 1, the Western CCA, is an area south of Point Conception that is bound by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

  • 33°50' N. lat., 119°30' W. long.;
  • 33°50' N. lat., 118°50' W. long.;
  • 32°20' N. lat., 118°50' W. long.;
  • 32°20' N. lat., 119°37' W. long.;
  • 33°00' N. lat., 119°37' W. long.;
  • 33°00' N. lat., 119°53' W. long.;
  • 33°33' N. lat., 119°53' W. long.;
  • 33°33' N. lat., 119°30' W. long.; and
  • 33°50' N. lat., 119°30' W. long.;

Area 2, the Eastern CCA, is a smaller area west of San Diego that is bound by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

  • 32°42' N. lat., 118°02' W. long.;
  • 32°42' N. lat., 117°50' W. long.;
  • 32°36' 42" N. lat., 117°50' W. long.;
  • 32°30' N. lat., 117°53'30" W. long.;
  • 32°30' N. lat., 118°02' W. long.; and
  • 32°42' N. lat., 118°02' W. long.

Fishery Regulations

For recreational regulations inside the CCAs, read the Summary of Recreational Groundfish Regulations.

For commercial regulations inside the CCAs, view the Federal Regulations at link opens in new window50 CFR Part 660, Subpart F, Section 660.330.



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