In-Season Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes

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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

January 4, 2022

Recreational Bag Limits Reduced for Some Rockfish Species in 2022

December 16, 2021

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

December 15, 2021

CDFW Announces Start of Commercial Crab Fishery and Recreational Use of Crab Traps in Fishing Zone 3

December 9, 2021

Commercial and Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Update – Monterey Bay to Open for Crabbing

November 29, 2021

Southern California Fisheries Closure Lifted

November 19, 2021

Commercial and Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Update

November 1, 2021

Commercial 2021-2022 Dungeness Crab Season Delayed
Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Opens Nov. 6 Under Trap Restrictions and New Regulations

October 4, 2021

Southern California Fisheries Closure Implemented Due to Oil Spill

August 31, 2021

2021 Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery to Reopen Sept. 3

August 10, 2021

After Five Year Closure Due to Domoic Acid, Razor Clam Fishery Opens in Humboldt County

June 29, 2021

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery to Close June 30 for Rest of the Year

May 18, 2021

CDFW Works With Diverse Stakeholders Group to Manage Entanglement Risk in the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery

May 3, 2021

Commercial Dungeness Crab Update

April 30, 2021

Fish and Wildlife Director Opens Razor Clam Fishery in Del Norte County; Fishery in Humboldt County Remains Closed Due to Public Health Hazard


Summary of Regulation or Season Changes

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).

December 16, 2021

CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham has closed the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in consultation with the California Department of Public Health determined that the consumption of razor clams taken from Del Norte County poses a significant threat due to high levels of domoic acid in the clams. Early December sampling of razor clams from Crescent Beach in Crescent City found that they exceeded the current federal action level for domoic acid (greater than or equal to 20 parts per million). Health agencies will continue to monitor domoic acid in razor clams in Del Norte County.

December 15, 2021

Recreational Dungeness crab trap fishing in Fishing Zone 3 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Pigeon Point) opened at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, December 17, 2021. The commercial fishery will open in that area at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, with a pre-soak period to begin at 8:01 a.m. on Sunday, December 26, 2021. The commercial fishery 40-fathom depth restriction will also be lifted in Fishing Zone 4 (Pigeon Point to Lopez Point) beginning at 8:01 a.m. on December 26. A Fleet Advisory is in effect for all fishing zones and CDFW reminds both the commercial and recreational fisheries to implement best practices, as described in the Best Practices Guide (PDF)(opens in new tab).

December 9, 2021

Fishing Zone 4 (Pigeon Point to Lopez Point) opened for recreational Dungeness crab trap fishing beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2021. The commercial fishery opened in Zone 4 at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 16, 2021, with a pre-soak period that began at 8:01 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2021. Commercial fishing activity was limited to a depth of 40 fathoms and shallower across Zone 4. Crabbers were required to have an electronic monitoring system onboard. The commercial fishery continued to be delayed in Fishing Zone 3, from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Pigeon Point, due to the presence of high numbers of humpback whales in the Gulf of the Farallones. The temporary crab trap restriction for the recreational fishery will also remain in place in Zone 3 until it can be evaluated at the next risk assessment, currently expected to occur on or around Dec. 15, 2021. The recreational use of crab traps is permitted in all other zones (except crab traps may not be used south of Point Arguello, Santa Barbara County). A Fleet Advisory is in effect for all fishing zones and CDFW reminds both the commercial and recreational fisheries to implement best practices, as described in the Best Practices Guide (PDF)(opens in new tab).

November 29, 2021

At noon on November 30, 2021 the fisheries closure that was implemented following the Southern California oil spill was lifted. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment states that there is no further risk to public health from seafood consumption in the affected area and recommends that fishing and consumption of seafood from the area can resume.

November 19, 2021

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the Oregon state line opened on Dec. 1, while the fishery continued to be delayed in Fishing Zones 3 and 4, from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Lopez Point. In the recreational Dungeness crab fishery, the temporary trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3 and 4 continues. Recreational take of Dungeness crab by other methods in Fishing Zones 3 and 4, including hoop nets and crab snares, is not affected by the temporary trap restriction. In early December, the CDFW Director will reassess entanglement risk in Fishing Zones 3 and 4.

November 1, 2021

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3 and 4 was delayed because numerical triggers have been reached for concentrations of humpback whales and Pacific leatherback sea turtles in these zones, and the risk of entanglement with crab trap gear. For these same reasons, the recreational Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3 and 4 temporarily restricts the use of crab traps, from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125 N latitude) to Lopez Point (36° N latitude). This management action is in effect until modified. The next risk assessment is expected to occur on or before November 22, 2021.

October 4, 2021

Take of all fish and shellfish was immediately prohibited from Huntington Beach to Dana Point, including the shorelines and offshore areas and all bays due to an oil spill in Southern California. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has determined that a threat to public health is likely by fishing in the affected area or consuming fish or shellfish that may have been affected by the spill. The extent of the closure will change as conditions and factors in the area change.

August 31, 2021

The recreational Pacific halibut fishery re-opened on Friday, Sept. 3 at 12 a.m. and will remain open until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Based on the current estimates of catch through June, CDFW estimates that 20,964 net pounds of the 39,260 net pound quota remain for anglers to catch. The 2021 recreational fishery was closed on June 30 due to projected attainment of the quota. Since that date, evaluation of new 2021 catch information prompted CDFW and its partners at National Marine Fisheries Service, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council to reopen the fishery.

August 10, 2021

The recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt County has re-opened following a recommendation from state health agencies that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure. Testing of razor clams at Clam Beach, Humboldt County in June and July 2021 indicated all clams were below the federal action level for domoic acid of 20 parts per million. There are currently no razor clam fishery closures in the state.

June 29, 2021

The recreational Pacific halibut fishery closed on Wednesday, June 30 at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2021. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2021 California recreational quota of 39,260 net pounds will be exceeded unless the fishery is closed at this time.

May 18, 2021

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery closed statewide beginning at noon on June 1, 2021. CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham announced the closure after recent survey data indicated an increase in humpback whales returning to California fishing grounds. All available data and recommendations from staff, the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, and other stakeholders was also considered. The Lost and Abandoned Gear Program began removing commercial Dungeness crab traps left in the water after the close of the season, on June 7, 2021 at 6 a.m.

May 3, 2021

Beginning at noon on May 10, 2021, from the Oregon state line to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (Fishing Zones 1 and 2), commercial Dungeness crab fishing will only be allowed in ocean waters 30 fathoms and shallower. All vessels must also carry onboard an electronic monitoring system capable of recording the vessel’s location while engaged in fishing activity using GPS coordinates at a frequency of no less than once per minute during fishing operations. Electronic monitoring data must be made available to CDFW upon request for the duration of the fishing period and 60 days thereafter. This management action will remain in place until lifted by the CDFW Director or the season closes.

April 30, 2021

After a five-year closure, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director has re-opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County following a recommendation from state health agencies that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure.