The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced increases to the recreational canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger), black rockfish (S. melanops) and lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) daily limits.
Within the statewide Rockfish Cabezon Greenlings Complex daily bag limit of 10 fish, the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from two to three fish, and the sub-bag limit for black rockfish will increase from three to four fish. The daily bag limit for lingcod will increase from one to two fish for areas south of 40°10’ N. lat (near Cape Mendocino), returning the statewide bag limit for lingcod to two fish. The changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019.
Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began in 2017 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, incremental increases to the daily sub-bag limit are being implemented to balance fishing opportunity while keeping catch within harvest limits.
Less optimistic stock assessment outcomes for black rockfish in 2015 and lingcod in 2017 resulted in a reduction to both the harvest limits and bag limits for these species. A review of the most recent recreational catch information showed that less catch for these species occurred during 2017 and 2018 than anticipated. This prompted the current increase in the statewide black rockfish sub-bag limit and lingcod bag limit south of Cape Mendocino to better achieve allowable harvest.
Catches of several important groundfish species, including canary and black rockfish, are monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits are not exceeded.
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.
For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish webpage.