California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Selected "Snapshots" of Current Marine Region Projects


by DFG Staff

Redtail surfperch

DFG Marine Region's Northern/Central California Finfish Research and Management Project initiated a study of the redtail surfperch (Amphistichus rhodoterus) fishery resource in northern California earlier this year. Redtail surfperch inhabit the sandy beach surf zone from roughly central California to British Columbia, and are an important component of the nearshore ecosystem. In northern California, they also sustain a small commercial fishery and are a popular sportfish on beaches throughout the region. Thus far, project staff has captured over 100 surfperch in Humboldt and Del Norte counties for life history studies. Staff collected biological information from each fish, including the removal of ear bones (which are used to determine age) and reproductive organs (which are used to determine when they mature). This information will be used to estimate growth rates, maximum age, and the age at which they become sexually mature – all of which are essential pieces of information for fisheries managers. This is the first time that life history aspects of this species have been studied in California since the 1970s. For more information on surfperch studies, please visit the project website.

Dan Silveira showing off his record lingcod
The state diving record for lingcod was captured by Dan Silveira, here showing off his prize catch.

New recreational fishing records

Two new recreational diving and angling records were logged into the books since May 2012. On June 30, 2012 Wesley Shum reeled in a 6 lb. 7 oz. grass rockfish (Sebastes rastrelliger) off Bean Hollow State Beach in San Mateo County to capture the state angling record for that species. In the diving records category, Dan Silveira speared a 37 lb. 0 oz. lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) on Aug. 2, 2012 while freediving off Mendocino, to capture that species' state diving record. Congratulations to these new state sport fishing record holders! For more information about state recreational fishing and diving records, see the DFG Record Ocean Sport Fish Web page.

Dungeness crab

DFG is moving forward with the rulemaking process to implement a commercial Dungeness crab trap limit program as outlined in statute created by Senate Bill 369 in 2011. This program caps the maximum number of traps per vessel at 500, and allocates traps among the 600+ permitted vessels according to a tiered system, based on their historical catches. Presently, some of the largest vessels operate with more than 1,000 traps. The program is expected to become effective with the 2013-14 commercial season and will bring California in line with Oregon and Washington, states already operating with trap limit programs. For more information about the management of fisheries for California's invertebrate species, including Dungeness crab, visit the Invertebrate Management Project website.

California halibut

DFG Marine Region's Northern/Central California Finfish Research and Management Project staff in Belmont began a 3-year study this spring to determine size and age at first maturity, and reproductive characteristics of California halibut in San Francisco Bay. The study is funded by the Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp, which anglers were required to purchase to fish in San Francisco Bay and its estuaries prior to 2010. Size and age at first maturity have only been determined for halibut in southern California, and the fecundity (the total number of mature eggs produced per female, per year) has never before been estimated. To determine these life history characteristics, DFG is collecting halibut between 4 and 25½ in. long. On party boats, project staff collects halibut under the minimum legal size limit of 22 in. The Marine Science Institute of Redwood City is also collecting halibut (under a DFG-issued Scientific Collecting Permit) that are shorter than 25½ inches using a research trawl. Project staff removes the gonads to evaluate the halibut's gender and sexual maturity. Otoliths (fish "ear bones") are collected to determine age; length and weight are also recorded. Thus far, 29 halibut ranging between 7 and 25 in. have been evaluated. The project hopes to collect 300 halibut for the study. For more information on California halibut studies, please visit the project website.

Return to the October 2012 Issue