SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA一 The two-month rockfish closure in state and federal waters was lifted on March 1 for boat-based anglers. Anglers can take up to 10 fish a day from rockfish, cabezon, and greenlings. There is a four-fish limit for vermilion rockfish, a one-fish limit for quillback rockfish, and a one-fish limit for copper rockfish. Cabezon must be at least 15 inches in total length, and kelp of rock greenlings must be at least 12 inches. Bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod, and yelloweye rockfish cannot be taken in California. The bag limits were updated on Jan. 6 after stock assessments came back, showing severe population declines. “New stock assessments conducted in 2021 for quillback and copper rockfish suggest severe population declines for these two species. Also, unsustainably high catches of vermilion rockfish have occurred each year since 2015,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Program Manager Marci Yaremko in a Jan. 4 press release. “For these reasons, new federal regulations were needed to implement reduced sport bag limits for these three species in 2022.” Take of rockfish is prohibited seaward of 100 fathoms, or 600 feet; anglers are encouraged to use a descending device when returning rockfish or other species subject to barotrauma to the bottom. For more information, see the CDFW summary of recreational groundfishing regulations for 2022 at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary, or contact your nearest CDFW office.
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