Summary of Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations

In-Season Updates

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing within MPAs. Visit the MPA pages for more information.
California Groundfish Management Area Map - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge in new window

Northern Management Area

Ocean waters between 42°00' N. latitude (CA-OR Border) and 40°10' N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino)
Includes all of Del Norte County and most of Humboldt County

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NorthernMA_Image

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Mendocino Management Area

Ocean waters between 40°10' N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino) and 38°57.5' N. latitude (Point Arena)
Includes a portion of Humboldt County and most of Mendocino County

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screenshot of Mendocino Management Area regulations summary - click to open PDF in new tab


San Francisco Management Area

Ocean waters between 38°57.5' N. latitude (Point Arena) and 37°11' N. latitude (Pigeon Point)
Includes a portion of Mendocino County, all of Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and most of San Mateo County

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screenshot of San Francisco Management Area regulations summary - click to open PDF in new tab


Central Management Area

Ocean waters between 37°11' N. latitude (Pigeon Point) and 34°27' N. latitude (Point Conception)
Includes all of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, and parts of Santa Barbara and San Mateo Counties

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screenshot of Central Management Area regulations summary - click to open PDF in new tab


Southern Management Area

Ocean waters between 34°27' N. latitude (Point Conception) and the U.S.-Mexico Border, excluding the Cowcod Conservation Areas
Includes a portion of Santa Barbara County, and all of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties

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Regulations table for the Southern Management Area regulations summary - click to open PDF in new tab


Cowcod Conservation Areas

COWCOD CONSERVATION AREAS CONTENT CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION - The Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) have been repealed in federal regulations as of January 1, 2024. State regulations to repeal the CCAs are currently proposed and under review. Please check back for more updated information. 

Ocean waters between 34°27' N. latitude (Point Conception) and the U.S.-Mexico Border:
Area 1 is located south of the northern Channel Islands. Area 2 is located west of San Diego.
View a map and exact location coordinates.

In these areas, only the groundfish listed within this table may be caught or possessed (See EXCEPTION at end of table).

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Regulations table for the Cowcod Conservation Areas regulations summary - click to open PDF in new tab