In-Season Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes

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Commercial Fishing Regulations Digest cover - link opens in new window

This page contains information about unscheduled, in-season regulation changes for recreational and commercial ocean fishing.

CDFW is required to notify the public of in-season regulation changes for groundfish at least 10 days before the new regulations becomes effective, via news release.

"The department shall give the public and the National Marine Fisheries Service no less than 10 days notice of any fishery closure or rule change implemented pursuant to this Section via a department news release." - Section 27.20(f) of Title 14, California Code of Regulations(opens in new tab)

Further information may be obtained by calling your local CDFW office. You may also sign up for the Marine Region News Service to receive automatic notification of in-season regulation changes.


News Releases, Updates and Informational Notices

November 21, 2022

CDFW Continues Partial Recreational Crab Trap Restriction and Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Delay to Protect Whales from Entanglement and Due to Low Crab Quality

November 3, 2022

Razor Clam Fishery Closes in Del Norte County Due to Public Health Hazard

October 28, 2022

CDFW Restricts Recreational Crab Traps and Delays the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Protect Whales from Entanglement

August 4, 2022

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery to Close August 7

June 25, 2022

Razor Clam Fishery in Del Norte County Opens after Closure Since December

May 16, 2022

New California Grunion Season and Limit Regulations

April 13, 2022

CDFW Restricts the Use of Crab Traps for the Recreational Crab Fishery to Minimize Risk of Whale Entanglements

April 6, 2022

CDFW Moves Quickly to Close the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Statewide in Response to Humpback Whale Entanglements

March 25, 2022

CDFW Announces Closure of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery off Central California to Protect Humpback Whales

January 4, 2022

Recreational Bag Limits Reduced for Some Rockfish Species in 2022


Summary of Regulation or Season Changes

November 21, 2022

The recreational crab trap restriction will be lifted in Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties (Fishing Zones 1 and 2) at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, November 28. The recreational setting and use of crab traps will continue to be temporarily restricted south of Mendocino County (Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5, and 6) due to the presence of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement with trap gear. Dungeness crab may be taken statewide recreationally by hoop nets and crab snares, and by hand. The temporary trap restriction applies in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5, and 6 until lifted by the CDFW Director.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5, and 6 will also remain delayed due to the presence of high numbers of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement with lines and traps in this fishery. In addition, the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties (Fishing Zones 1 and 2) because the crab have not met minimum meat recovery criteria. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in this area is delayed until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, pending another round of meat recovery testing.

CDFW anticipates the next risk assessment will take place on or before Dec. 7, 2022, at which time the CDFW Director will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5, and 6. That risk assessment is expected to inform the potential for a commercial fishery opener and modification of the recreational trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5, and 6 on Dec. 16, 2022.

November 3, 2022

CDFW has closed the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County after state health agencies determined that consuming razor clams from the area poses a significant health risk due to domoic acid exposure.

October 28, 2022

The recreational setting and use of crab traps will be temporarily restricted statewide when the Dungeness crab season opens on Saturday, Nov. 5 due to the presence of humpback and blue whales and the potential for entanglement with trap gear. Note that crab traps may not be set or used during the week before the Dungeness crab season opens, as well. Beginning Nov. 5, Dungeness crab may be taken recreationally by hoop nets and crab snares, and by hand. The temporary restriction applies in all fishing zones until lifted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line was scheduled to open on Nov. 15, 2022 in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6. However, the season opener has been delayed in those zones due to the presence of high numbers of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement.

CDFW anticipates that the next risk assessment will take place on or before Nov. 23, 2022, at which time the Director will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, as well as the need for any management actions for the commercial fishery in Fishing Zones 1 and 2. That risk assessment is expected to inform the potential for a statewide commercial fishery opener on Dec. 1 and the potential to modify the recreational trap restriction.

August 7, 2022

CDFW has closed the recreational Pacific halibut fishery as of 11:59 p.m., August 7, 2022. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2022 California recreational quota of 38,740 net pounds will be exceeded unless the fishery is closed at this time.

June 25, 2022

CDFW has opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County after state health agencies determined that consuming razor clams from the area no longer poses a significant health risk due to domoic acid exposure.

May 16, 2022

New recreational grunion regulations are in effect as of June 1, 2022. The month of June has been added to the grunion closure period, which now extends from April 1 through June 30. Also, a new daily bag and possession limit of 30 grunion per person during the open season is now in effect.

April 13, 2022

Due to increased risk of whale entanglement, the use and deployment of crab traps is prohibited as of 7 p.m., April 24, 2022, for the remainder of the recreational Dungeness crab fishing season. Recreational take of Dungeness crab by other methods, including hoop nets and crab snares, is not affected by the trap restriction.

April 6, 2022

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery closed at noon on April 20, 2022 in Fishing Zones 1 and 2 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the Oregon state line). Removal of all commercial Dungeness crab traps from the fishing grounds was required by noon on April 20. The CDFW Director has also authorized the Lost and Abandoned Gear Retrieval Program to begin removing commercial Dungeness crab traps left in this area beginning April 27 at noon in Zones 1 and 2.

March 25, 2022

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery closed at noon on April 8, 2022 in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the U.S./Mexico border). Removal of all commercial Dungeness crab traps from the fishing grounds was required by April 8. The CDFW Director also authorized the Lost and Abandoned Gear Retrieval Program to remove any  commercial Dungeness crab traps left in this area beginning April 15, 2022.

January 4, 2022

Beginning January 6, 2022, new statewide sub-bag limits apply for vermilion rockfish, copper rockfish, and quillback rockfish within the 10-fish daily Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex bag and possession limit. The new sub-bag limits are: 4 vermilion rockfish per person, 1 copper rockfish per person, and 1 quillback rockfish per person. These limits now align with federal regulations for these species, which assessments show to be in decline (copper rockfish, quillback rockfish) or at unsustainably high levels of harvest (vermilion rockfish).