CDFW Proposes Changes to Open Commercial Nearshore Groundfish Fishery

A male kelp greenling swims above a rocky reef off California. The kelp greenling is one of many commercial nearshore species.
Photo Credit: CDFW photo by MARE

by California Department of Fish & Wildlife

On January 26, 2024 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed emergency changes for commercial groundfish fishing regulations. The changes would:

  • Create a new 20-fathom boundary line in state waters, defined by waypoints.
  • Authorize commercial nearshore trip limits between the new 20-fathom boundary line and the shore, north of 36° N. latitude (near Point Lopez). The new trip limits would apply for shallow nearshore rockfish, deeper nearshore rockfish, cabezon, and greenlings of the genus Hexagrammos.
  • Prevent directed commercial fishing for all other non-nearshore groundfish in state waters north of 36° N. latitude.
  • Not affect waters south of 36° N. latitude, which will operate according to existing federal and state regulations.

These measures are being taken to minimize encounters with quillback rockfish, which is a prohibited species in California as of 2023.

These emergency regulations only apply to the commercial nearshore groundfish fishery. The 2024 recreational regulations (including the 20-fathom boundary line) are being developed separately. The proposed recreational regulations are expected to be available on the Fish and Game Commission website in early February, 2024.

For further information about the proposed commercial emergency regulation changes, please visit the CDFW website.

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