The California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG) released the second version of its Nearshore Fishery Management Plan (NFMP) at the 9 May meeting of the California Fish & Game Commission. The new NFMP is a revision of a plan presented to the Commission and public last year. It was redrafted to address public input and comments received from a scientific review panel. The NFMP is designed to guide CDFG's management of both the commercial harvest and sport catch of 19 finfish species found in nearshore waters along the state's 1100 mile coast.

The NFMP is an outgrowth of a bill drafted by PCFFA and introduced in the California Legislature by then-State Senator Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena). The measure was crafted to cover many inshore groundfish and other fish stocks that were not under federal management to provide a framework for research, management and limiting effort in the fishery as well as assure a future for the emerging live fish fishery. The live fish fishery was a high value, low impact fishery it was thought could provide a decent income for a limited fleet of small boats along the whole of the California coast, fishing by either hook-and-lines or traps. The PCFFA-crafted bill was intended to assure fish stocks were protected for a sustainable fishery and recreational uses would also be preserved. The Thompson nearshore bill was subsequently incorporated into Assemblyman Fred Keeley's (D-Boulder Creek) Marine Life Management Act that was passed in 1998. The NFMP is organized into three main sections - the fishery management plan, environmental document, and regulations. It focuses on 19 finfish species, including cabezon, California scorpionfish and sheephead, kelp and rock greenlings, monkeyface prickleback, and 13 species of rockfish, and contains 14 management options for the Commission to consider upon the plan's adoption. Those options relate to annual control rules (the opening and closing of the fishery and the take of certain species), allocation of fish between sport and commercial users, and the potential use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a tool to conserve nearshore stocks. It divides the state into three management areas. Also included are sections on research needs and costs associated with implementation.

Written comments will be accepted from 9 May through 27 June and should be mailed to: California Fish & Game Commission, Draft Nearshore Fishery Management Plan, 20 Lower Ragsdale Dr., Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940, or faxed to (831) 649 2894. The following is a list of scheduled Commission meetings and special hearing dates:

* 9 May, Commission meeting (CDFG presents revised plan), City Council Chambers, 2600 Fresno St., 2nd floor, Fresno.

* 21 May, Commission public hearing, Elihu Harris State Office Building, 1515 Clay St., Oakland.

* 7 June, Special Commission public hearing, Santa Barbara Veteran's Memorial Building, 112 West Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara.

* 20-21 June, Commission meeting, Lakeland Village Beach and Mountain Resort, Lakeshore Room, 3535 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe.

* 12 August, Commission meeting, City Council Chambers, 990 Palm St., San Luis Obispo.

* 29-30 August, Commission meeting (adoption hearing), Elihu Harris State Office Building, 1515 Clay St., Oakland.

For additional information on the nearshore fishery, go to CDFG's Website at: The NFMP is available by request on Compact Disc (CD), at:, and in hard copy by request. Contact Maura Leos for a CD or hard copy at (831) 649-2829; e-mail: