In 1989, a live-fish trap fishery developed in southern
California to meet the high demand and price paid for live
ocean fish by local Asian restaurants. During its 4-year existence,
the fishery has grown rapidlyboth total effort and catch
have increased each year. The fishery is market driven and highly
mobile. Most live fish are transported directly from boat to
restaurant. Species targeted by the fishery include
California sheephead (Semicossyphus puicher), California moray eel
(Gymnothorax mordax), California scorpionfish (Scorpaena
guttata), cabezon (Scorpaenicathys marmoratus), and
shallow-water rockfish (Sebastes spp.) restaurants prefer small (1-2 lbs)
fish because they can be cooked and served whole as a single
entree. Good physical appearance is also mandatory.
Traps have historically proven to be effective but
nonselective gear (i.e., traps capture a high percentage of nontarget
species). During a Department study, the percentage of nontarget
fishes and invertebrates captured in traps ranged between 82%
and 98%. Captured fishes and invertebrates are also frequently
damaged or killed due to "trap trauma". In addition, lost or
abandoned gear become "ghost traps" that continue to capture
fishes for years until the traps decay or fall apart. The
effect of finfish trapping on southern California´s marine resources
is not known at this time. However, sheephead are probably the most
affected of all target species since they account for more than
88% of live fish landed by trap gear since 1989. In fact,
commercial landings (all gears) of sheephead have increased 7-
fold during the last 5 yearsmore than 240,000 lbs were landed
in 1992. An additional 75,000-100,000 sheephead are taken each
year by recreational anglers and divers. It is unlikely that
local sheephead populations can continue to sustain this increase
in fishing pressure.
Until more is known about the effects of the live-fish trap
fishery in California, it is in the best interest of the state´s
marine resources to manage "finfish trapping" as a separate
fishery. We recommend the foIlowing effort and gear restrictions
be considered to manage the finfish trap fishery (detailed
options are presented in the text)
~ Special permit for finfish trapping
~ Limited entry
~ Logbook required
~ Only finfish may be taken in traps; no incidental take of
~ Gear restrictions:
_ maximum trap size: 20 cu ft
_ minimum mesh size: 2" x 2"
_ trap must have at least 1 destruct device
~ Finfish trapping may take place during daytime hours only;
all traps must be returned to port each day
~ Finfish traps and receivers impounding fish shall be
~ Finfish trapping restricted to depths of 60´ or less
~ Any species with minimum size limit (commercial or
recreational) may not be used as bait or possessed on any
vessel trapping finfish (e.g., rock crab, kelp bass)
~ No SCUBA equipment or other artificial breathing device may
be used or possessed on any vessel trapping finfish
~ California sheephead no longer allowed to be taken
incidentally.in other trap fisheries (e.g., lobster,
dungeness crab, rock crab)
Historical Background of Trapping:
Trapping has been an important method of fishing throughout
recorded history (Von Brandt 1972). Although simple baskets made
of woven twigs, branches, bamboo, or palm leaves are still used
in the fisheries of Africa, Indonesia, Asia, South America, and
the Caribbean, the majority of traps used in modern day fishing
are significantly more complex, constructed with a variety of
materials including wood, wire, netting, and plastic (Von Brandt
1972). Marine traps, in particular, are generally basket or box-
like structures with one or more funnels (or slits) for
entrances. Bait is placed in the trap to entice target fish or
invertebrates to enter. Traps are effective in catching finfish
(Munro 1974). Once caught in the trap, fishes cannot easily
escape because of the tapered shape of the entrance funnels
(Butler et al. 1993, Stone 1987). Traps are also nonselective
and capture a wide variety of fishes and invertebrates -
including a large percentage of noncommercial species (Sutherland
and Harper 1983, Taylor and McMichael 1983). In addition,
juvenile and undersized individuals are often trapped (Taylor and
McMichael 1983). Because of the gear´s effectiveness and
nonselectivity, trapping has the potential to negatively effect
marine resources if not properly monitored and managed. In fact,
fish trapping has already been banned in several areas of the
world because of its detrimental effect on coral reef
Prior to World War II, the Bermuda Islands had a subsistence
fishing industry (including trapping) that dated back to the time
of their earliest settlement (Butler et al. 1993). After the
war, however, technological advances, combined with a growing
demand for choice, white-meat fishes, expanded the Bermuda trap
fishery to such an extent that sustainable yields of desired
species (primarily groupers and snappers) were exceeded (Butler
et al. 1993). Local trap fishermen soon began looking for
alternative target species and found that the fillets of many
reef-dwelling species (previously thought of as "second-rate"
seafood) now had high market potential. As the catch of grouper
and snapper continued to decline, herbivorous ~eef fishes soon
formed the mainstay of the trap fishery. Unfortunately, many
noncommercial species were also captured by the nonselective
traps. Fisheries managers soon became concerned that not only
were desirable fish stocks being exhausted, but also that the
integrity of the reef community itself might be in danger (Butler
et al. 1993). Despite stringent regulations enacted by the
Bermuda government on fish trapping during the 1980s, many
species continued to become seriously threatened. In a final
attempt to avoid the local extinction of several species, the
Bermuda government completely banned fish trapping in 1990
(Butler et al., 1993). Although the long-term outcome of the ban
is still unknown, it has already significantly reduced the catch
of grouper, snapper, and other important coral reef fishes
(Butler et al. 1993).
In the 1970s, a trap fishery developed in the Caribbean after a
National Marine Fisheries Service study found that there was a
"good potential" for finfish trapping in the area (Wolf and
Chislett 1971). By 1977, the trapping had actively spread
northward to the Florida reef tract in both the Atlantic Ocean
and Gulf of Mexico (Stone 1987). State and federal fisheries
managers soon became concerned that the traps were too effective
and were damaging local reef-fish stocks (Bohnsack et al. 1989).
Government studies found that 38-50% of the fish caught in traps
had no direct commercial importance (Sutherland and Harper 1983,
Taylor and McMichael 1983). In addition, both noncommercial
species and undersized commercial fishes often incurred injury
and mortality from: 1) attempting to escape from traps,
2) embolisms caused by changes in ambient pressure as deep-water
traps were lifted to the surface, 3) stress and handling at the
surface before release, and 4) predators (e.g., moray eels)
entering the trap to feed on captured fishes (Sutherland and
Harper 1983, Taylor and McMichael 1983). Lost or abandoned traps
("ghost traps") were also found to attract and catch fish for
several years until their steel or plastic components broke
apart. Because of these significant findings, Florida banned the
use of fish traps within state waters in 1980 (Stone 1987).
Several years later, the South Atlantic Fishery Management
Council banned fish trapping in federal waters of the Atlantic
Ocean. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC)
allowed fish trapping to continue in the Gulf of Mexico but
enacted the following restrictions on trappers: 1) possession of
fish trap permit, 2) maximum trap volume of 33 cu ft, 3) minimum
mesh size of 1"x 2", and 4) no more than 100 traps per vessel.
In addition, the GMFMC currently has an amendment pending to
enact these additional restrictions: 1) limited-entry fishery, 2)
all traps must be returned to port at end of each trip, and 3)
traps must be individually buoyed (i.e., no strings of traps
In the Gulf of Alaska, fisheries managers are trying to properly
manage a relatively new trap fishery (Gay 1991). In 1988, north
Pacific crab fishermen began modifying their traps to target Pacific
cod (Gadus Macrocephalus). By 1991, the trappers were successfully
competing with trawlers for this increasingly shared
resource. With the establishment of this trap fishery, two major
concerns for the local resources have developed: 1) areas
historically closed to trawlers to protect cod spawning stocks
are being fished by trappers, and 2) cod traps catch juvenile
crabs that are readily fed upon by captured cod or suffer
mortality from handling (Gay 1991). Regulations are currently
being enacted to confront these issues and reduce the negative
effect trapping may have on cod and crab stocks.
Live-Fish Trap Fishery in Southern California, 1989-1992
In 1989, a live-fish trap fishery developed in southern
California to meet the high demand and price paid for live ocean
fish by local Asian restaurants. Although some freshwater
species such as carp, squawfish, and suckers were caught and sold
live during the 1940s (Hallock 1949) trapping and transporting
live fish for food is relatively new and unregulated in
California. To determine if fish trapping in California has the
potential to negatively affect local resources, general and
specific fishery data were collected and analyzed by Department
biologists. General information concerning fishery operations
was obtained via interviews with participating commercial trap
fishermen, live fish dealers, and Department wardens. Specific
commercial catch data were obtained from Department landing
A general trap permit is required to trap and sell live fish.
The permit is non-specific and does not require a log book.
Although trap fishermen use a variety of trap configurations
(Figure 1), the basic design is a 3´x 2´x 1.5´ double compartment
trap with two entrance funnels. Traps are usually constructed
with 1 "x 1", 2"x 2", or 2"x 4" wire mesh. Each trap has a top
door and built-in bait container. Individual or strings of traps
must be marked with a buoy. Traps are set in 10´ to 140´ of
water and "soaked" anywhere from 45 minutes to several days.
invertebrates (primarily rock and spider crabs) are most commonly
used as bait by local fishermen. Other bait used includes
mussels, squid, mackerel and sardines.
During its 4-year existence, the live-fish trap fishery has grown
rapidlyboth total effort and catch have increased
dramatically each year (Table 1; Figure 2). In 1989, the fishery
consisted of 2 boats that landed 1,365 lbs of live fish; in 1992,
27 boats landed 52,626 lbs of live fish (Table 1). During the
last 3 years, landings have peaked each summer and declined each
fall (Figure 2); this trend is due to fish trappers targeting
spiny lobster (panulirus interruptus) during their October to
March commercial season.
Market demand drives the live fish trap fishery; dealers
determine which species and size of fish are marketable
(hereafter referred to as target species). The fishery is also
highly mobile; most live-fish dealers do not have or need
processing locations since live fish are transported (trucked)
directly from boat to restaurant. Thus target species must not
only taste good but be hardy enough to withstand capture,
transport, and storage in tanks. As with any live seafood
product, good physical appearance is also mandatory. Restaurants
prefer small (1-2 lbs) fish because they can be cooked and served
whole as a single entree. They also believe that smaller fish
have better taste and texture than larger fish. Restaurant-
desired species currently targeted by the live-fish trap fishery
include California sheephead (Semicassyphus puicher). California
moray eel (Gymnathorax mordax), California scorpionfish
(Scorpaena gutta La), cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marinaratus),
several species of shallow-water rockfish (Sebastes spp.). In
1992, ex-vessel price for these species (live) ranged from
$2.00/lb to $8.50/lb.
California sheephead is the primary target of the fishery and
accounts for 89% of live fish landed by trap gear since 1989
(Table 1; Figure 3). It first appeared in southern California
restaurants circa 1987 and was dubbed the "fish of good health"
by Chinese fish brokers to entice potential consumers. Its
continued popularity at local restaurants is due to a striking
similarity in both appearance and flavor to a well-liked fish in
Asia. One local high volume dealer complained that he "couldn´t
get enough live sheephead to satisfy his customers because
demand is so high. Adding to the sheephead´s high value in the
live-fish trade is its low mortality rate during capture,
transfer, and storage.
The commercial catch of target species other than sheephead has
been relatively small (Table 1) with combined landings accounting
for approximately 10% of the fishery´s total catch. Generally,
there is much less demand for these species by live-fish dealers
and restaurants. Scorpionfish (sculpin) was the first local
species to appear in southern California´s "live-fish"
restaurants (circa 1980). Its delicate flavor and hardy nature
made it a natural success in the live-fish industry; however,
restaurant demand quickly declined with the introduction of
sheephead. Many chefs also complained of getting stuck by the
sculpin´s poisonous spines and refused to prepare them.
Restaurant demand for moray eels has also been relatively weak.
In 1992, live eels were being targeted by only a few boats and
only upon request from their respective dealers. The demand for
cabezon and rockfish is also considerably lower than that for
Over 90% of the nontarget (bycatch) commercial species landed by
the live-fish trap fishery were invertebrates (Table 1),
primarily rock crab (Cancer spp. and spider crab (Loxorhynchus
spp.). Bycatch finfish landings were dominated by ocean
whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) in 1991 and unspecified
surfperch (Embiotocidae) in 1992.
California Department of Fish and Game Live-Fish Trap study: Because trap fishermen were not willing to let Department
personnel "ride-along" on their boats to observe trapping
operations, a fishery-independent study was conducted. This
section summarizes the study´s findings. A detailed account of
the study will be presented in a separate paper (palmer et al.,
In September and October 1992, Department personnel made 453 trap
sets along the Palos Verdes Peninsula (PVP) in southern
California (Figure 4). Finfish "targeted" were California
sheephead, California scorpionfish, California moray eel,
cabezon, and shallow water rockfish. Trapping operations
(daytime and overnight) were patterned after techniques used by
commercial trap fishermen in southern California. All finfish
captured were measured, examined, and released (if healthy).
invertebrates were also identified and released.
During the daytime sets, target species made up 34% of the total
finfish catch (Table 2). This is similar to the target/nontarget
finfish ratios observed in Florida trap fisheries (Sutherland and
Harper 1983, Taylor and McMichael 1983). Sheephead, the primary
target of the live-fish trap fishery, represented only 17% of the
total finfish catch (Table 2) whereas, kelp bass (paralabrax
clathratus) and barred sand bass (p. nebulifer) accounted for
more than 40% (Table 2) It´s important to note that both basses
are restricted from commercial catch and are important to the
sport fishing industry in southern California. In fact, most of
the "nontarget" finfish captured during the study had little or
no commercial value. Invertebrates accounted for 46% of the
total daytime catch (Table 2) and were also comprised primarily
of nonmarketable species.
The target/nontarget ratio was even lower in the overnight sets.
Target species (primarily rockfish) accounted for 19% of the
finfish catch and 2% of the total catch. In addition only 1
sheephead was caught. Kelp bass and barred sand bass again
dominated the finfish catch and accounted for more than 58% of
all finfish captured (Table 2). In addition, 33% of the finfish
captured at night were either damaged or dead. Invertebrates
accounted for 88% of the total overnight catch (Table 2) and were
comprised primarily of Kellet´s whelk (Kelletia kelletii) and
spiny lobster. Most lobster were of sublegal size (carapace
length <3.25") and several were either damaged or dead.
These results indicate that finfish trapping in southern
California is also very nonselective and many species of fishes
and invertebrates with little or no commercial value are often
captured. In fact, the overall target/nontarget ratio of the
study was lower than those measured in other areas where trapping
has already been banned (i.e., Florida). In addition, a high
percentage of the bycatch was damaged or killed. Unless the
live-fish trap fishery in southern California is properly
regulated and monitored, the potential to negatively affect local
fish and invertebrate populations (including noncommercial
Effects of trapping on "target" finfish populations:
The effects of finfish trapping on sheephead and other target
populations are not known at this time; however, because sheephead
are so heavily fished by the live-fish industry they are probably the most
affected of all target species. Commercial landings (all gears)
of sheephead in southern California have increased 7-fold during
the last 5 years -- 33,000 lbs were landed in 1988 compared to
240,000 lbs in 1992 (Table 3, Figure 5). During the 30-year
period from 1960 to 1989, commercial sheephead landings in
California averaged about 14,000 lbs/year (Table 3). Since 1990,
annual commercial sheephead landings have averaged more than
184,000 lbs/year (Table 3). In addition approximately 75,000-
100,000 sheephead are taken annually by recreational anglers and
divers on commercial passengerfishing vessels (CPFVs) and
private boats (Table 3, Figure 5). Although sheephead range from
Monterey Bay, California to the tip of Baja California, they are
not common north of Point Conception. It is unlikely that
southern California sheephead populations can continue to sustain
this level of fishing pressure, especially because of their
unique reproductive biology.
Sheephead are protogynous hermaphrodites (i.e., all fish begin
life as females and later transform into males). Juvenile
sheephead become mature females at age 4-5 when they are about 8"
long (Feder et al. 1974) and weigh approximately 0.3 lbs (Ames
1972). Each female sheephead can spawn several times during its
breeding season (August through October). However, the length of
time a sheephead spends as a mature female (and contributes to
the total spawning biomass) differs markedly among populations
(Warner 1975, Cowen 1990). Although most individuals function a
minimum of one year as a female (Warner 1975), sexual
transformation depends on intrapopulational relationships such as
sex ratio and average male size (Cowen 1990). In a recent study.
the age at which females transformed into functional males varied
significantly among sheephead populations and ranged from 5 years to 14 years (Cowen 1990). In 1992, the majority of sheephead landed live in
southern California were mature females (Burres 1992). However, most of these females were relatively small (Table 4, Figure 6). The continued
removal of young females by the live-fish trap fishery will not only affect important intrapopulational relationships but may also significantly
reduce the recruitment of sheephead throughout the Southern California
Since the landings of other target species have been relatively
small, the live-fish trap fishery probably does not directly
affect their populations at this time. Nonetheless, a few trends
in the fishery should be noted. Eel landings have more than
doubled during the last three years (Table 1); however, dealer
supply and demand now limit their catch. Both rockfish and
cabezon landings, increased significantly in 1991, but all
landings combined still make up less than 5% of the total fishery
catch (Table 1). Scorpionfish account for only 1% of the target
species caught, but landings did increase significantly in 1992.
This may signify a resurgence in its popularity.
Effects of trapping on nontarget finfish populations:
Nontarget finfish made up 9% of the bycatch landed by live-fish trappers (Table 1); however, this does not include the incidental catch of
noncommercial or damaged finfish thrown directly overboard during trapping operations. Smaller fishes are also often fed upon by larger
piscivorous fishes while in the traps. In the Department study, 66% of the finfish captured during the day time trap sets were nontarget species.
At night, 81% of the finfish captured were nontarget and 33% of all finfish were either injured or killed. Because of these significant findings, we
potential for the live-fish trap fishery to negatively affect nontarget finfish populations is great.
Effects of trapping on nontarget invertebrate populations:
Invertebrates made up 91% of the bycatch landed by live-fish
trappers (Table 1); however, this does not include the incidental
catch of noncommercial or undersized invertebrates thrown
directly overboard or retained as bait. In the Department study,
46% of the daytime catch was comprised of invertebrates
(Table 3). During overnight soaks, 88% of all animals captured were invertebrates (Table 3). Of special concern is the high
percentage (28%) of sublegal spiny lobster captured at night.
Currently, traps used to catch live fish are not required to
contain escape ports which allow undersized crabs and lobsters to
escape. Smaller invertebrates are often damaged or fed upon by
large fishes also captured in the traps. In addition, Department
wardens have reported the use of undersized crabs and lobsters as
bait by live-fish trappers. Thus the potential for the live-fish
trap fishery to negatively affect nontarget invertebrate populations exists.
Conflicts with other commercial gear:
Sheephead are important to several commercial fisheries in southern California. In 1992 more than 165,000 lbs of sheephead were landed
commercially by hook and line gear (66% of this catch was live). Small sheephead are also targeted and valued by the commercial aquarium
trade. Conflicts are likely as these fisheries continue to compete both spatially and economically for the same resource. In addition,
some commercial lobster and crab trappers are becoming concerned
with the large number of invertebrates caught in fish traps that are either damaged, killed, or used as bait.
Sheephead abundances may also indirectly affect other fisheries
in southern California. Sheephead are such important predators
of sea urchins that they regulate urchin densities and influence
microhabitat distribution (Cowen 1983, Tegner and Dayton 1981).
If sheephead abundances become severely reduced, their ability to
keep urchin populations "in check" will diminish and allow the
formation of dense urchin aggregations that can destroy a kelp
forest at the rate of 30´ per month (Mcpeak et al., 1988). Thus
sheephead play an important role in the survival of kelp forests
and their biota - - valuable resources that support many other
commercial and recreational fisheries in southern California.
Conflicts with sport fishing industry:
Conflicts between the live-fish trap fishery and recreational fisheries already exist.Species targeted by the live-fish trap fishery are also
important to the southern California commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV) industry. During the last decade, sheephead have consistently
ranked among the top species caught annually by anglers on CPFVs. In addition, they were the top finfish taken annually by recreational divers
on CPFVs during the last 3 years. Scorpionfish, cabezon, and rockfish are also important to the CPFV fishery (based on numbers of fish landed
for all species).
Many CPFV owners have already expressed concern over the use of prime fishing areas by finfish trappers. Besides reporting reduced sport
fish catches, they also complain that anglers frequently snag their lines on submerged trap gear. Some coastal areas are also especially
important during rough weather when sport boats are limited to nearshore areas. Other conflicts may exist with sport divers since they
frequently target sheephead when spearfishing and may be tempted to raid or destroy traps when opportunities arise.
Economic value of live-fish trap fishery:
As with total effort and catch, the economic value of the live-fish trap fishery hasalso grown dramatically since its inception. In 1989, the total
ex-vessel value for landed target species by trap gear was $12,700; in 1992, the value increased more than 15-fold to $200,000. However, in
comparison, this is only one-hundredth of the estimated expenditures ($220 million) made by sport anglers on southern California CPFVS in
19B9 (Thomson and Crooke 1991).
In summary, we recommend regulating and monitoring the live-fish trap fishery because of: (1) its rapid growth during its 4-year existence, (2) its
effect on sheephead and other target populations are not known, (3) the potential for negatively affecting nontarget populations exist, and (4)
conflicts already exist among fisheries. Until more is known about the effects of the live-fish trap fishery in California, it is in the best
interest of the state's marine resources to manage "finfish trapping" as a separate fishery. According to _1700 (Cal. Fish & Game Code), the
Department must maintain sufficient populations of all species of aquatic organisms to insure their continued existence. Since the number of
boats fish trapping in southern California is still relatively small, now is the time to enact regulatory changes - before more of the southern
California fleet becomes involved (e.g., gill net vessels displaced by proposition 132). We present three option scenarios for managing finfish
trapping. In addition, we suggest that more information concerning the effects of trapping on local marine resources be obtained via scientific
Manage finfish trapping as a separate fishery. Regulations governing this fishery would include:
a) Special permit for finfish trapping (live & dead) - on or after April 1, 1994, no person shall take finfish commercially by trap gear without
having obtained from the
Department a revocable, nontransferable, annual (April 1 - March 31) finfish trapping permit. Each permittee shall have his/her permit in
possession when the boat is being used for taking finfish by trap gear.
b) Limited entry - permit issued only to a person who landed finfish commercially (using trap gear) in this state in his or her own name, as
documented by one or more landing receipts issued pursuant to _8043 (Cal. Fish & Game Code) between March 31, 1984 and March 31, 1994,
c) Logbook - each permittee must submit an accurate record of
finfish trapping activities on a form (Daily Trap Fishing Log) provided by the Department, pursuant to _190 (Title 14) and _8026 (Cal Fish &
d) Only finfish may be taken with finfish traps; all invertebrates caught incidentally must be immediately released.
e) Gear restrictions:
_ Maximum trap size- 20 cu ft
_ Minimum mesh size 2" x 2"
_ Every trap must have at least one destruct device pursuant to _9003.
f) Finfish traps can be used during daytime hours only (1 hr before sunrise to 1 hr after sunset); all traps must be returned to port each day
g) Finfish traps and receivers impounding fish shall be individually buoyed. Each buoy must be on the surface of the water and marked with the
permit number of the fishermen followed by the letter "S".
h) Finfish trapping restricted to depths of 60' or less.
i) Any species with a minimum size limit (commercial or recreational) may not be used as bait or possessed on vessel being operated pursuant to
a commercial finfish trap permit (e.g., rock crab, spiny lobster, kelp bass).
j) No SCUBA equipment or other artificial breathing device may be used or possessed on any boat being operated pursuant to a commercial
finfish trap permit.
k) California sheephead no longer allowed to be taken incidentally, in other trap fisheries (e.g., lobster, dungeness crab, rock crab).
Pros & Cons:
OPTION 1 would effectively protect sheephead populations and
other important marine resources by limiting the total fishing
effort on both target and non-target species, preserving
reproductive stocks in deeper (< or equal to 60') water, reducing injuries
and death caused by trap trauma and embolism, reducing the
number of lost traps, reducing invertebrate bycatch, and
increasing the Department's ability to monitor and manage the
fishery. However, a limited-entry fishery is also costly to
manage and monitor and may also hinder economic growth in
southern California. In addition, several of this option's
regulations (e.g., daytime soaks, depth restrictions, individual
buoys) may prove to be a hardship on some trappers.
Allow finfish trapping to remain under the general trap permit
guidelines with the following regulations added by the Fish and
a) Logbook - each finfish trapper must submit an accurate record
of fish trapping activities on a form (Daily Trap Fishing
Log) provided by the Department pursuant to _190 (Title 14)
and _8026 (Cal Fish & Game Code).
b) Only finfish may be taken with finfish traps; any other
species caught incidentally must be immediately released.
c) Gear restrictions:
_ Maximum number of traps per vessel - 50
_ Maximum trap size - 20 cu ft
_ Minimum mesh size - 2"x 2"
Every trap must have at least one destruct device pursuant
d) Finfish traps may be used during daytime hours only (1 hr
before sunrise to 1 hr after sunset); all traps must be
returned to port each day (weather permitting).
e) Finfish traps and receivers impounding fish shall be
individually buoyed. Each buoy must be on the surface of the
water and marked with the commercial license number of the
fishermen followed by the letter "S".
f) Finfish trapping restricted to depths < or equal to 60'.
g) Any species with a minimum size limit (commercial or
recreational) may not be used as bait or possessed on vessel
being operated pursuant to a commercial finfish trap permit
(e.g., rock crab, spiny lobster, kelp bass).
h) No SCUBA equipment or other artificial breathing device may
be used or possessed on any boat being operated pursuant to a
commercial finfish trap permit.
i) California sheephead no longer allowed to be taken
incidentally in other trap fisheries (e.g., lobster,
dungeness crab, rock crab).
Pros & Cons:
OPTION 2 would provide some protection to sheephead populations
and other important marine resources by limiting the effort (per
boat) on both target and non-target species, preserving
reproductive stocks in deeper (s60') water, reducing injuries
and death caused by trap trauma and embolism, reducing the
number of lost traps, reducing the invertebrate bycatch, and
increasing the Department's ability to monitor and manage the
fishery. However, this option does not limit or restrict the
fishery's growth, which may be an important factor in January
1994 when displaced gill netters (approx. 100 vessels) in
southern California begin seeking new livelihoods. In addition,
several of this option's regulations (e.g., daytime soaks, depth
restrictions, individual buoys) may prove to be a hardship on
Finfish trapping would be illegal in southern California. In
addition, the incidental catch of finfish would not be allowed in
any invertebrate trap fishery (e.g., lobster, rock crab).
Pros & Cons:
OPTION 3 would completely protect sheephead and other target
species from the effects of finfish trapping. Although it does
not provide for the growth of local commercial fisheries
pursuant to _1700 (d), it does provide for the maintenance of a
sufficient resource to support a reasonable sport use pursuant
to _ 1700 (c).