Tuesday, 18 June 2024

California Fish and Game Commission approves kelp harvest plan, experimental fishing permit

At its Aug. 17 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission acted on several issues affecting California’s natural resources.

The following are just a few items of interest from the meeting held in Loleta at the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria with an option for the public to join via Zoom.

The commission approved a five-year kelp harvest plan proposed by Sustainable Ocean Harvest, LLC for mechanical harvest of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) in specified kelp beds in Santa Barbara County.

Commissioners also adopted a second 90-day extension of emergency regulations for recreational sub-bag limits for vermilion rockfish, copper rockfish and quillback rockfish.

This action conforms state regulations with federal regulations that were recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and then promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The commission determined that listing Inyo rock daisy as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act may be warranted.

As a result, a one-year status review commences, to be completed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, during which Inyo rock daisy is protected as a candidate species.

The commission also approved the first experimental fishing permit, or EFP, application submitted under the Experimental Fishing Permit Program created through regulations adopted by the commission in December. 2021.

This EFP will test the commercial use of deep-set and night-set buoy gear fishing configurations within California state waters. Buoy gear is used to catch swordfish and has proven to significantly reduce bycatch in federal waters.

Commission President Samantha Murray, Vice President Erika Zavaleta, commissioners Jacqueline Hostler-Carmesin and Eric Sklar were present. There is one vacant position on the commission.

The agenda for this meeting, along with supporting information, is available on the commission’s meetings web page, including video and audio files.

The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Oct. 12 to 13 in Kings Beach. Please see the Commission website for details.

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