List of Articles
Draft Nearshore Fishery Management Plan Available for Review and Comment
by Nearshore Fishery Management Plan Staff
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is pleased to announce the availability of the draft Nearshore Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for public review and comment. During the past year, DFG staff drew from the advice and assistance of fishery participants, divers, scientists, conservationists, and other interested constituents to develop the Nearshore FMP for 19 species of nearshore finfish.
Under the Marine Life Management Act, the Fish and Game Commission must adopt an FMP for the nearshore fishery by January 1, 2002. Once a plan is adopted, it will guide the management of recreational and commercial harvest of these 19 nearshore species. With help from the public, the plan will foster sustainable and diverse uses of nearshore finfish
Everyone interested in the future of nearshore finfish is encouraged to voice
their opinions on the draft Nearshore FMP during the public comment period from
August 23 through October 5. Six public meetings will be held throughout the state during
September to provide everyone an opportunity to comment on the plan. These public meetings are in addition to the regularly scheduled Commission meetings. Written comments can be
sent to the Commission during the public review process.
The draft Nearshore FMP can be reviewed at more than 80 locations: county libraries, marine and harbor offices, Sea Grant offices, DFG offices and on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/nfmp.
Contents of the Draft Nearshore FMP
The draft Nearshore FMP provides a series of alternatives for managing the fishery. The Commission may select any of the alternatives, modify them or request new alternatives. The alternatives selected by the Commission will determine policy issues such as:
- Harvest Control Rules - How to limit the catch.
- Regional Management - Whether to manage
the fishery on a regional basis.
- Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - How to
integrate MPAs with the management of the
- Allocation - How to share the resource among
- Restricted Access - How to reduce excess
In addition to providing alternatives for managing the nearshore fishery, the draft Nearshore FMP summarizes biological, ecological and general information about the fishery. The plan identifies gaps in critical information necessary for successful management, and offers a strategy for gathering that information. The plan includes an evaluation of the impacts of the management alternatives on all marine resources, individuals, and local communities. The draft Nearshore FMP estimates the cost of
enforcement, management, and research. The plan also describes the process for adapting
management approaches as the result of new information or changes in the fishery.
Commission Seeks Comments By October 5
The DFG presented the draft Nearshore
FMP to the Commission at their August 23 meeting
in Santa Barbara. While the Commission reviews
the draft, they welcome comments and feedback
from the public on the proposed alternatives for
managing the nearshore fishery.
The DFG and the Commission will host a
series of public meetings in September to
receive public comments specifically on the draft
Nearshore FMP. In addition, the Commission will
also take public comments at its meeting on
October 5th in San Diego.
To Provide Written Comments:
You may send written comments by letter,
fax, or e-mail to the Commission. Comments
received by September 26 will be read by the Commission
members prior to the October 5 Commission
meeting. Written comments received after
September 26 will be submitted to the Commission at
the meeting on October 5 in San Diego. Furthermore,
written comments received after October 5
will be considered by the Commission during the
evaluation of the revised draft Nearshore FMP.
All written comments must include the author's
name and mailing address and may be sent to:
California Fish and Game Commission
Draft Nearshore FMP
20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100
Monterey, CA 93940
Fax: (831) 649-2917
Timeline for Adopting the Nearshore
Fishery Management Plan
- October 5: Commission meeting in San Diego.
The Commission will advise DFG on how the
draft Nearshore FMP should be revised before
the Commission considers it for adoption.
- October 6-31: DFG will revise the draft Nearshore
FMP. The revision will be based on public comments
received up to and during the Commission
meeting on October 5, the Commission's
guidance at that meeting, and comments from a
scientific panel reviewing the draft.
- November 1-2: The revised draft Nearshore FMP will
be released for public review. The Commission
will accept public comments on the revised plan
during November and at the December 7 Commission
- December 7: Commission meeting in Long
Beach. The public may provide oral comments on
the revised draft Nearshore FMP. The Commission
is expected to adopt the plan at this meeting.
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Governor Gray Davis Declares September 15, 2001
as Official Rob Collin's Day
by Chamois Andersen
Gov. Gray Davis has proclaimed September 15, 2001,
"Robson A. Collins Day" in recognition of the
marine biologist's 36 years of dedication to
California's marine resources.
"Mr. Collins' invaluable contributions to the
Golden State have made a positive and lasting
impact," Davis said in the proclamation.
Collins began his career with DFG as a Junior
Aquatic Biologist. Today, Collins is the Central
California Manager and Nearshore Ecosystem
Coordinator for the Marine Region and is responsible
for guiding the development of the state's
Nearshore Fishery Management Plan for marine
On September 15, 2001, friends and family will
celebrate Collins' retirement from DFG.
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Introducing Marija Vojkovich, Marine Region's New Southern California Manager and Offshore Ecosystem Coordinator
by Paul Gregory
Associate Marine Biologist
Patty Wolf, Marine Region Manager, is pleased
to announce the promotion of Marija Vojkovich to
the Marine Region's Southern California Manager
and Offshore Ecosystem Coordinator. In her
new capacity, Vojkovich will lead the southern
California Marine Region staff and be responsible
for the management of the offshore ecosystem
using self-directed work teams.
Vojkovich will continue to work out of the Santa
Barbara DFG office and will advise Wolf on all
offshore matters. She will also be a representative
of DFG, along with Mr. LB Boydstun, to the
Pacific Fisheries Management Council.
Marija Vojkovich has long been recognized as
a valued team leader and will continue her
involvement with the Constituent Involvement
Team to improve communication practices
within the Region. Congratulations Marija!
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Director, Robert C. Hight Recognizes MLMA Milestones
Almost three years ago, the Legislature made
dramatic changes in California's management of
marine resources with the passage of the Marine
Life Management Act (MLMA). It charted a new
course, set high standards for effective marine
management, and established several new
mandates for the Department of Fish and Game
(DFG) and the Fish and Game Commission. At
the August Commission meetings, DFG delivered
first draft fishery management plans and major
reports called for by the MLMA - the White
Seabass Plan, the Nearshore Plan, the Status of
the Fisheries Report, and the Master Plan. These
are significant steps in implementing the MLMA
and greatly enhance our ability to provide sustainable
resources and fisheries for California's
future. We would not have been able to achieve
these tremendous accomplishments without the
commitment and involvement of our constituents,
a truly dedicated Marine Region staff, and support
from the Legislature.
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Series of Workshops Held to Gather Public Comments for the Marine Life Protection Act
by Paul Reilly
Senior Marine Biologist
A series of 10 Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)
workshops were held in July, from Eureka to San
Diego. These workshops were planned to gather
public comments, as part of an informal public
process, on a set of "Initial Draft Concepts" for
proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) in
California ocean waters.
There was an unprecedented turnout for
these Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
workshops - with over 2500 people attending at
least one workshop. One reason for the high
turnout was the great interest in the number and
size of proposed MPAs in the Initial Draft Concepts.
The following is a summary of the most
frequently heard comments:
- There were significant concerns with the
potential socio-economic impacts of the Initial
Draft Concepts with many people stating the
proposed MPAs would put them out of business.
- The majority of workshop participants were
either against MPAs in general or had concerns
with the number and size of the proposed MPAs.
- Many participants felt there was inadequate
science to justify the recommendations for new
or expanded MPAs.
- Many observed that there were no user-groups
represented on the Planning Team.
- Participants were often confused about the
process and were not aware that the proposals
are not final.
- There was confusion about where this whole
process started, and where and when it will end.
- Some felt that the specific language requiring
an "improved" marine life reserve component
did not mean that more MPAs had to be created.
- There was widespread concern that the
proposed MPAs near ports (i.e. within 10 miles)
would unfairly impact access to small boat or
non-boat users and would pose safety risks.
- There was concern that areas outside MPAs
would receive too much fishing effort and
impact those open areas negatively.
- Many felt that more MPAs were not necessary
due to the increasingly restrictive regulations
that have been imposed in the last few years.
- People wanted to know specifically what would
need to be protected within the proposed MPAs.
- Many expressed concern that the timetable is
much too short for this process.
- Many feared that new MPAs would restrict non-extractive
activities, access, anchoring, or
transiting through areas.
Hundreds of useful suggestions for site-specific
modifications or alternatives were also
offered by workshop attendees.
DFG is adding more staff to the Planning
Team. These staff members will primarily be
involved with conducting small meetings with
constituent representatives to discuss alternatives
to the Initial Draft Concepts, and reading
the hundreds of comments received to date by
letter, fax, and e-mail. It is likely that more time
will be added to the MLPA process. For this
reason the next set of public workshops will take
place sometime this winter. Participants who
attended the first meeting will be placed on MLPA
DFG mailing lists. If you're not on the list and
would like to be, please sign up.
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Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQs) About the Marine Life
by Carrie Wilson
Associate Marine Biologist
Question: Why is DFG looking at closing
areas to fishing? Why not stick with seasons,
bag limits, and size limits?
Answer: The MLPA requires habitat protection
and ecosystem protection as well as integrating
existing and proposed MPAs into fisheries
management. It also requires some total no-take
reserves in each region. These areas will
allow for the ecosystem to function in some
areas without any fishing, providing insurance for
management uncertainty as well as possible
Question: How do we know that MPAs are
really protecting and enhancing the resources?
Why are we counting on these closures to
protect these species rather than just targeting
the specific species that we want to protect?
Answer: MPAs will be a part of fisheries
management along with more traditional measures
and species-specific regulations. The
concept of MPAs, however, goes beyond single
species management. By protecting habitats
and whole ecosystems, each species within an
area will be more likely to grow and reproduce
Question: Since some species are doing
fine, can any of these areas allow some fishing?
Answer: Yes. The State Marine Reserve
classification is the only one that restricts all
fishing. The State Marine Parks can allow some
or all recreational fishing. State Marine Conservation
Areas can allow both recreational and
commercial fishing. These other classifications
are one way to limit impacts to fishermen.
Question: Will I be able to anchor, dive,
surf, and swim in reserves?
Answer: Yes. While access can be restricted
in these areas, the DFG is not recommending
this. All non-consumptive activities
would be allowed in all of the three classifications
Question: How are you deciding which
areas should be set aside as protected areas?
How do you know that establishing protected
areas will indeed effectively help our marine
Answer: Nothing has been decided yet.
Your input will be very valuable in making the
decisions on which areas to close or leave open.
Studies of Marine Protected Areas around the
world have been conducted to determine their
effectiveness to increase fish stocks within,
near, and far from their borders. Much of this
research is very new, and more information is
being developed continuously. Fully protected
marine reserves have been shown to increase
biomass, biodiversity, individual size, and abundance
of various species. These studies include
reserves in California with good examples at La
Jolla Cove, Anacapa Island, Big Creek (near Big
Sur), Pt. Lobos, and others.
Question: Why aren't there any fishermen on
the Planning Team? Doesn't the Act say you
must consult with others?
Answer: The act specifies that the Planning
Team must be made up of natural resource
agency representatives and scientists. It also
requires consultation with fishermen and other
interested parties such as through the siting
workshops. In addition, in April DFG mailed
letters to more than 7,000 commercial fishermen,
recreational divers, and skiff and shore
anglers seeking initial public input on fishing
activities along the coast. Small group discussions
were also held to get input on general
concerns about MPAs. Now that we have a Draft
Concept for MPAs more workshops, conversations,
small group meetings, and other contacts,
the public can better provide input on the initial
draft concepts and maps.
Question: When can we expect this plan to
be completed and adopted?
Answer: The draft plan is due to the Fish
and Game Commission January 1, 2002. The public
review period must include at least three public
meetings. The final plan is due to the Fish and
Game Commission April 1, 2002 and must be
adopted by July 1, 2002. This timeline, however,
is likely to change. A bill, supported by the
Department, is asking for a 12 month extension
of this timeline. This extension will allow even
more time for the public to review the plan and
for the Department to make any modifications.
Note: An expanded version of these FAQ's
appeared in the "DFG Q&A" column in the August 3,
2001 issue of "Western Outdoor News."
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New DFG Marine Patrol Boat Slated for San Francisco
by Chamois Andersen
Each day, the California Department of Fish and
Game's (DFG) marine patrol proudly lives up to
its motto, "Make a Difference."
To maintain this creed, DFG is increasing
its presence on the ocean with five new patrol
boats slated for California's waters.
The Patrol Boat Marlin is joining DFG's fleet
this month and will patrol the waters off San
Francisco. A dedication event for the Marlin will
be scheduled in Berkeley.
These catamaran-like vessels are capable
of reaching speeds of 38-knots. Each one is
state-of-the-art and equipped with integrated
electronics that allow for precise navigation in
any weather. The new boats also have a patrol
skiff, dive gear, and other equipment used to
crackdown on illegal fishing activities.
The Patrol Boat Thresher was the first one
to come on-line and is based out of Dana Point
in Orange County. The Patrol Boat Swordfish is
currently under construction and will be based
out of Ventura. Two additional boats will join the
DFG fleet next year, the Coho in Morro Bay and
the Steelhead in Eureka.
The DFG will utilize these high-powered
boats to patrol fishing activities along the state's
1,100 miles of coast. The DFG officers must
board and inspect all commercial vessels that
they encounter as well as routinely check fishing
licenses and marine fishes caught by anglers on
small crafts and party boats.
With more boats patrolling California's
waters, officers will be able to keep a watchful
eye out for illegal fishing activities, making a
difference in conserving the marine resources of
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Featured Fishes: Selected Fishes of the California
Nearshore Fishery Management Plan
by Ed Roberts
This is the second of three articles appearing in
Marine Management News. It provides biological
information and characteristics of the species
selected for management under the Nearshore
Fishery Management Plan (FMP), as well as an
insight on the importance of each species to
recreational and commercial fisheries. In this
issue we focus on seven species of nearshore
rockfishes included in the FMP.
Selected Fishes of the California
Nearshore Fishery Management Plan
Information Chart (PDF)
This information was compiled by Paul Reilly, Dave Osorio, Dave Ono and Colleena Perez.
Black-and-yellow rockfish are a significant
portion of the commercial catch in central
California, in particular the live-fish fishery. In
1999, black-and-yellow rockfish ranked fourth in
the Morro Bay area, making up 11 percent of the
total catch by weight. In the Monterey Bay area,
they comprised 8 percent of the commercial
nearshore fishery for 1999. They are a minor
component of the Commercial Passenger
Fishing Vessels (CPFVs) and private vessel
recreational fishery. Black-and-yellow rockfish
look very similar to the gopher rockfish.
Calico rockfish are not a target species,
they are caught incidentally when targeting other
fish. Calico rockfish are included under the
management of the Nearshore FMP to facilitate
transfer of management from the Pacific Fishery
Management Council to DFG.
China rockfish are a valuable part of the
commercial nearshore fishery. China rockfish
are of moderate importance to recreational
fishermen, being taken by private and CPFVs,
divers and rocky shore anglers.
Copper rockfish are taken in the nearshore
commercial fishery. They are also of significant
importance to recreational anglers. Copper
rockfish are generally among the ten most
frequently observed species taken by CPFV
anglers near Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and
occasionally Morro Bay.
Gopher rockfish are a very important
component of both the commercial nearshore
and recreational fisheries. They were the most
important nearshore species taken by the
commercial hook-and-line fishery in the
Monterey Bay area in 1999. Gopher rockfish
make up 7 to 11 percent of the recreational catch
from Mendocino county south, and are usually
among the five most frequently observed species
in the CPFV boat fishery in the Morro Bay
Quillback rockfish are taken by private and
CPFV anglers as well as divers primarily in
northern California. They, like other nearshore
rockfish, are an important component of the
commercial nearshore live-fish fishery.
Treefish are a part of the recreational and
commercial nearshore fishery off southern
California. Like the calico rockfish, treefish were
included for management under the Nearshore
FMP primarily to facilitate transfer of management
of nearshore rockfish stocks.
Next issue: California scorpionfish (sculpin),
cabezon, California sheephead, kelp greenling,
monkeyface prickleback and rock greenling
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Nearshore Fishery Restricted Access Discussions Continue
by Kristine Barsky, Senior Marine Biologist
& Traci Bishop, Associate Marine Biologist
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the
Nearshore Advisory Committee, and other
concerned individuals have been laying the
groundwork for a restricted access program for
the nearshore fishery. Presently, the fishery is
large and very diverse. The primary fishing gear
is line and trap, but trawls and nets also catch
The draft Nearshore Fishery Management
Plan proposes several kinds of management
measures that aim to promote a healthy and
sustainable fishery. One type of measure is
restricted access. The main goal of a restricted
access program is to balance the number of
participants with a sustainable resource and
provide maximum value to the fishermen and
Having a fishery that can operate year-round,
with a mixture of full- and part-time fishermen is
one possible objective of a restricted access
program. Fishermen often prefer to fish when
they want or need, instead of only being able to
fish on certain days of the week. Since
California's size and diversity have resulted in
species and gears typical to specific regions, it
may make sense to develop a program for each
Balancing the number of fishermen in the
nearshore fleet with the size of the fish population
is going to be difficult. The catch of some
nearshore species has declined in recent years,
which has lowered the allowable take. Currently,
the number of nearshore permittees is 700, with
121 also holding finfish trap permits. The existing
moratorium on the issuance of nearshore fishery
permits expires on March 31, 2002. In order to
provide ample time for fishermen and general
public comments, DFG is going to request an
extension of this moratorium.
The details of a restricted access program
await further discussion and review. Possible
features include the following: 1) The proposed
program would involve the continued take of the
nine species which currently require a nearshore
fishery permit, 2) the program would likely divide
the fishery into three regions, with divisions at
Cape Mendocino and Point Conception or Point
Arguello, 3) only trap and line gears would be
eligible for a permit. However, there would be a
bycatch allowance for vessels landing small
amounts of nearshore fishes with trawl or net
gear. Qualifying for a permit would be based on
nearshore fishing activity (documented on landing
receipts) during the 1994-2000 window period.
Fishermen who made very few or no landings
during the window period would not be included
in the fishery. Criteria to qualify for a nearshore
fishery permit could include:
- Number of years of participation
- Average price per pound
- A minimum landings requirement
- Number of landings in specified years
- Value of nearshore trips compared to
the value of all trips taken
We anticipate public meetings on the proposed
restricted access program during January
and February 2002. At these meetings, DFG will
seek feedback on options for the restricted
access program, with the goal of implementing
the program no later than the 2003-2004 fishing
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Abalone Recovery and
by Jonathan Ramsay
A moratorium on California abalone fishing
south of San Francisco Bay was imposed in
1997. The legislation mandating this fishery
closure requires the Department of Fish and
Game (DFG) to submit an Abalone Recovery
and Management Plan (ARMP) to the Fish and
Game Commission by January 1, 2003. The DFG is
in the process of developing the plan. The ARMP
- The biology, habitat requirements, and current
threats to abalone
- A summary of interim and long-term conservation and management goals and activities
- Alternatives for allocating harvest between
recreational and commercial divers if the
llocation is warranted
- An estimate of the time, cost, and funding
sources required to meet interim and long-
term goals for abalone recovery
- Criteria for review and amendment of the
chosen recovery strategy
- Measurable criteria to determine if recovery
goals are met.
Three advisory workshops are being planned
to aid DFG biologists with the development of
the ARMP. The main focus of the workshops is
to provide the DFG with advice, feedback, and
recommendations on relevant issues and
actions. Workshop participants will not determine
the contents of the ARMP or preferred
management options. However, ideas and
comments on content, possible recovery, and
management directions generated by workshop
participants will be used to help DFG biologists
draft the ARMP.
DFG is seeking to reflect the diversity of
interests from around the state and will strive to
provide an equal representation of interests at
the workshops. In addition to the advisory
workshops, the DFG has planned public meetings
to receive comments on the draft ARMP.
Information on the ARMP
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Annual Status of the Fisheries Report Submitted to Fish and Game Commission
by Susan Giles
The Marine Life Management Act (MLMA)
opened a new era in the management and
conservation of California's living marine resources.
The MLMA not only gives the Department
of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Fish and
Game Commission greater responsibility in
managing our fisheries, but requires greater
efforts to involve fishermen, scientists, and other
interested parties in the process. Similar to the
way good business practice dictates an annual
evaluation of the "business," fisheries managers
must regularly take stock of the effectiveness of
To ensure the effectiveness of California's
management programs, the MLMA requires that
DFG prepare annual reports on the status of
recreational and commercial fisheries. The first
status of the fisheries report, "California's Living
Marine Resources: A Status Report," was
submitted to the Commission on August 31, 2001.
Although this first report is mandated to cover all
of California's fisheries, subsequent annual
reports are required to cover only one-fourth of
the state's fisheries. As a result, every fishery
will be reviewed at least every four years.
Each annual report will provide the public, law
makers, fishery managers and other interested
parties with the best up-to-date information
available for fisheries in California's bays, estuaries
and ocean waters. The MLMA clearly establishes
"sustainablility" of fisheries as the major
goal for California and requires these reports to
identify fisheries that are not meeting sustainable
policies. The annual report will also evaluate the
management system, make recommendations
for modifications and each restricted access
program will be reviewed at least every five
years for consistency with Commission policy.
The goal of the first report is to also present
an overview of the oceanic, environmental,
regulatory, and socio-economic features that are
involved in the management of California's living
marine resources. It includes chapters on topics
ranging from "California's Variable Ocean Environment,"
to "The Status of Habitats and Water
Quality in California's Coastal and Marine Environment,"
to "The Human Ecosystem Dimension,"
as well as information on the major eco-systems,
restricted access, enforcement and
The final report will be available to the public
January 2002 in hard copy at DFG offices,
county libraries, marine and harbor offices, Sea
Grant offices, and posted on the DFG website.
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White Seabass Fishery Management Plan
by Michelle Horeczko
After months of hard work and extensive review
by constituent groups, the draft White Seabass
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) was completed
and submitted to the Fish and Game Commission
on August 4, 2001. The draft White Seabass
FMP amends the existing White Seabass
Fishery Management Plan adopted in 1996 by
incorporating the policies of the Marine Life
Management Act (MLMA); and addresses the
requirements of MLMA such as constituent
involvement and peer review. The goals and
objectives of the White Seabass FMP will be
achieved by using the best science available,
managing the resource through conservative
use, and considering the potential socio-economic
impacts of current and future management
The draft White Seabass FMP contains
several options for management of California's
white seabass resource. One option is to leave
current management in place with no change.
Other options involve more conservative management
of the resource through the use of harvest
guidelines based on estimates of optimum yield.
Optimum yield is the level of long-term sustained
harvest of a species modified by environmental,
social and economic factors. After careful consideration
and consultation with constituents, a
preferred management option was chosen that
would set the annual harvest of white seabass in
California at 1.3 million pounds. This level would
allow continued take by recreational and commercial
fishermen while allowing the Commission to
respond quickly to any changes in the environment
or within the fishery itself, which would
undermine the sustainability of the resource.
The draft White Seabass FMP was made
available for review and public comment beginning
July 5. The Commission took public testimony
on the White Seabass FMP at the Commission
meeting on August 24th in Santa Barbara.
Further public testimony will be taken at the
October Commission meeting in San Diego. Plan
adoption is expected to occur at the October
meeting. The draft White Seabass FMP is available
for viewing on the DFG website while
bound copies are available for viewing at state
libraries and DFG offices.
For more information on the White Seabass
Fishery Management Plan, please contact:
Mary Larson or Michelle Horeczko
Department of Fish and Game
White Seabass FMP
4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite C
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
To provide comments on the White Seabass
Fishery Management Plan, please direct them to:
California Fish and Game Commission
White Seabass FMP
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
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