The California Fish and Game Commission took action and made changes regarding the ground fish recreational fishery. For the 2019 opener, saltwater anglers can fish in depths up to 450 feet, rather than the 350 feet it has been in recent years. Also anglers are now allowed to fish in depths of 240 feet in Cow Cod Conservation areas, instead of 120 feet.
Also included in these changes was a daily bag limit change for lingcod, which will be reduced to 1 from 2 fish.
These changes bring the state regulations into line with groundfish changes made recently by the Pacific Fishery Management Council for the 2019/20 season.
The Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) also are collaborating to develop a filet length for California Sheephead. Currently, California Sheephead is not to be filleted on any boat in California because of the lack of fillet length, but SAC and DFW are working towards implementing a 6.75″ fillet length requirement. SAC organized sampling trips out of Point Loma, Dana Point and Long Beach for representatives from DFW to observe deckhands fillet legal shepherd on the water to measure and gather information. There were approximately 180 filleted fish from 10 to 16 inches. Both parties are hoping for implementation in 2019.
Here is a recap from Sportfishing Magazine, of all the changes in groundfish regulations for 2019/20:
1. Increase the allowable depth for the recreational groundfish fishery from 60 to 75 fathoms in the Southern Management Area and from 20 to 40 fathoms in the Cowcod Conservation Area;
2. Increase the recreational season length for groundfish in the San Francisco Management Area by two weeks;
3. Increase the recreational season length for California scorpionfish by removing the September 1 to December 31 closure in the Mendocino, San Francisco, Central and Southern Management Areas;
4. Increase the recreational bag limit for canary rockfish from one to two fish statewide;
5. Decrease the recreational bag limit for lingcod from two to one fish in Mendocino, San Francisco, Central, and Southern Management Areas;
6. Replace language referencing numerical values for cabezon and greenling total allowable catch limits with references to federal annual catch limits in federal regulation;
7. Eliminate language referencing allocation limits for cabezon and greenling from Section 52.10; and
8. Increase commercial trip limits to 500 pounds for cabezon and 250 pounds for greenling.