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In-Season Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes

Cover of Saltwater Sport Fishing Regulations Booklet - link to ocean sport fishing regulations page

Commercial Digest 2018 cover

This page contains information about unscheduled, in-season regulation changes for recreational and commercial ocean fishing in 2018.

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, link opens in new windowCalifornia Code of Regulations

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

May 15, 2018

Fish and Game Commission Adopts Emergency Regulations to Increase Purple Sea Urchin Bag Limit in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties

April 20, 2018

Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Continues to be Extended Northward to Near the Mendocino/Humboldt County Line

April 10, 2018

Recreational Canary Rockfish Bag Limit Increases Effective April 14

March 29, 2018

Opening of Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Extended to Sonoma-Mendocino County Line

January 25, 2018

Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishery Closure Lifted Near Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands

January 16, 2018

Open Area of Commercial Rock Crab Fishery to be Extended to Salt Point, Sonoma County

January 10, 2018

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Open in Northern California


Summary of Regulation Changes

May 15, 2018

From May 10, 2018 through Nov. 6, 2018, the recreational purple sea urchin daily bag limit is raised to 20 gallons, with no possession limit. Note that filling four five-gallon buckets is seen as an acceptable method of determining the 20-gallon bag limit. Beginning Nov. 7, 2018 the recreational daily bag and possession limit reverts back to 35 sea urchins per day and in possession, barring further action by the California Fish and Game Commission. Skin and scuba divers are reminded that urchins must be put to use (smashing and disposing of urchins in the trash is illegal), per laws prohibiting waste of fish and invertebrates including sea urchins.

April 20, 2018

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife extended the area open to commercial rock crab fishing from near the Mendocino/Humboldt county line (40°00.00′ N. lat.) south to the California/Mexico border.

April 10, 2018

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife increased the canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) recreational sub-bag limit from one fish to two fish within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish effective April 14, 2018. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits.

March 29, 2018

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife extended the area open to commercial rock crab fishing from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line (38° 46.1′ N. lat., near Gualala, Mendocino County) south to the California/Mexico border.

January 25, 2018

The October 24, 2017 commercial spiny lobster fishery closure area has been reopened effective January 25, 2018. State health agencies determined that consumption of spiny lobster taken from this area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide, and the warning from the California Department of Public Health regarding avoid consuming the viscera (internal organs, or tomalley) of spiny lobster from the commercial fishery's closed areas has been lifted.

January 16, 2018

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife extended the area open to commercial rock crab fishing from Salt Point, Sonoma County south to the California/Mexico border.

January 10, 2018

The northern California Dungeness crab fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties is set to open at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, January 15.



Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940
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