Fish Report for 12-14-2018
Santa Cruz Area Fishing Report
by Allen Bushnell
Will wonders never cease? In a move that can bring genuine benefits to the sport and commercial fishing industries along the entire west coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Wednesday a liberal revision of federal rockfish restrictions for 2019 and beyond. Because rockfish stocks have rebuilt more quickly than NOAA scientists predicted, new catch limits may increase by more than 100% for some rockfish species.
John Field, a federal researcher at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz explained how NOAA imposed severe restrictions on rockfishing using “best available science.” Fields said, “"Our perception of low productivity among rockfish in the 1990s was tailored by poor oceanic conditions at that time, but our population models back then didn’t account for what turned out to be a banner year for recruitment of young fish in 1999, as well as in later years."
Lifelong fisherman Allen Sansano had strong words regarding the restrictive federal rulings imposed since the 90’s stating, “Our ‘best available science’ was faulty. In 1999, the Marine Life Protection Act was born out of this faulty science. It ultimately led to the PERMANENT closure of large swaths of our California oceans, never to be opened again. I take little solace in being able to say ‘I told you so.’ Fishermen didn't believe the science because it was not consistent with what we were seeing on the water. And yet, we may never be able to fish those waters again. Shame on you!”
We should hear from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife within the next few weeks regarding loosening restrictions for the 2019 rockfish season. In the meantime, this year’s season closes on December 31. There’s still time to get out and stock up on rockfish and lingcod filets for the table and the freezer. Akoma Culver, one of the Salty Nutz from Santa Cruz got some last licks in on Saturday while kayak fishing near Carmel. “The cove produced Sunday get out and get it before it’s closed 18.6 ling on 831 Tackle glow in the dark Ring Bait,” Culver reported.
Charter boats continue to find limits of rockfish for their customers. Chris’ Fishing Trips ran multiple trips last week, counting as many as 310 rockfish, 19 lingcod and 60 Dungeness crab on various forays out of Monterey. The Kahuna from Moss Landing enjoyed limit-style fishing this weekend as well. Owner Carol Jones reported, “This weekend we have been blessed with some great weather! Kahuna checked in on their way back from Lopez Point today with limits of both rockfish to eight pounds and lingcod to 18 pounds and 1 cabezon. Plenty of vermilion rockfish on the large to extra-large size with that beautiful dark red color from the shallows. “Kahuna Sportfishing will continue to provide Big Sur area trips as long as the weather allows.
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Continuing storm fronts moving through our area provide hope for a reasonably wet winter. In the short term it makes...... Read More
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