The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces a statewide increase to the recreational canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) daily limit within the Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) bag limit. The sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two fish within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began last year as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, a one fish daily sub-bag limit was implemented as a matter of precaution. Catches were monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits were not exceeded.
“We saw great fishing in 2017 and higher than expected effort for rockfish,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Joanna Grebel. “Despite this, catches of canary rockfish under a one fish bag limit were less than predicted. We are excited to be able to offer additional opportunity in 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.
CDFW encourages anglers to avoid known yelloweye rockfish hotspots when pursuing canary rockfish. Yelloweye rockfish cannot be retained and stringent annual limits on yelloweye rockfish bycatch mortality remain in effect for California’s recreational groundfish fishery in 2018. Bycatch mortality of yelloweye rockfish is monitored during the fishing season and modifications to regulations could be made if mortality amounts reach annual limits.
For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status information, fish identification tools and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.