Kelp Bed Harvest Plan Off Santa Barbara Coast, Rockfish Emergency Regulations Extension Highlight Fish And Game Commission Meeting

The following is courtesy of the California Fish and Game Commission:

At its August 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 this week’s 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. 

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

The commission approved the first experimental fishing permit (EFP) application submitted under the Experimental Fishing Permit Program created through regulations adopted by the commission in Dec. 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(opens in new tab), including video and audio files. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Oct. 12-13, 2022 in Kings Beach. Please see the Commission website(opens in new tab) for details.