California Department of Fish and Game
Final approval and implementation of the California Fish and Game Commission's recent changes to sport fishing regulations aimed at protecting certain species of ocean finfish have been delayed a few weeks, resulting in differences between state and federal regulations.
On Dec. 7, 2001, the Fish and Game Commission adopted new sportfishing regulations governing the recreational take of rockfish and lingcod for 2002, regulations which are undergoing required review by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) prior to becoming effective. It was the hope of both the DFG and the Commission that regulatory review and approval of the new regulations would be completed effective Jan. 1, 2002. However, the size and complexity of the combined ocean and freshwater regulatory package being reviewed has prevented completion of that review and approval. Consequently, information provided both by the DFG and other sources which outline the new regulations is not valid until these regulations are approved by OAL and filed with the Secretary of State, potentially within a couple of weeks.
Under California's 2001 sportfishing regulations, which will remain in effect until they are superceded, the take and possession of nearshore rockfish (including California scorpionfish) is permissible in waters less than 20 fathoms deep (within three miles from shore) south of Point Conception, Santa Barbara County, in January and February. This conflicts with the federal regulations in waters three to 200 miles offshore which do not allow for the take of any species of rockfish or California scorpionfish in the area. North of Point Conception to the Oregon border, the possession limit for lingcod in state waters continues to be two fish, 26 inches or greater in length until OAL has completed its review (after which the size limit will drop to 24 inches). In this same area, anglers are urged to abide by the more restrictive federal regulations for yelloweye rockfish of one fish per day with no more than two in possession per boat.