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April 17th - 18th - Mendocino Cabin

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In other Ocean News

From our friends at the DFG:

Inadvertant Catch?

Question: Can someone be cited for the inadvertent stomach contents of their catch? As an example, a typical cabezon belly might contain a couple of 3-inch abalone, crabs and/or octopus. Is it a violation to have the abalone (and crabs and octopus if it is in a no-invertebrate take zone) in possession? Another example would be a ling with a big rockfish in his belly. Could the stomach contents place you over the 10 fish RCG complex (rockfish, cabezon and greenlings) possession limit? (Craig G.)

Answer: This situation would be the same as if you caught an undersize or prohibited species unintentionally while fishing. According to Lt. Dennis McKiver, you are required to discard or return to the sea any prohibited species as soon as you discover you have caught a prohibited species. Although you would not be required to remove and inspect the stomach contents of all fish you catch to make sure the fish did not contain a prohibited species, if the fish regurgitates a prohibited species you would not be allowed to retain possession of that prohibited species. You must return it to the ocean even if it is dead.

In your last example, it would be the same as if you had 10 rockfish in possession and continued to fish for lingcod. If you caught a rockfish, you would have an over-limit and would be required to return it to the ocean. Lets say you were legally fishing for lingcod with two hooks and you caught a lingcod on one hook and a rockfish on the other. You would be required to return the rockfish if you already had a limit in possession. If you are fishing for rockfish and lingcod and you catch a lingcod that contains a rockfish and then you choose to keep the rockfish from the lings stomach in your possession, that rockfish becomes part of your rockfish bag limit.

A similar problem occurs when anglers catch surf perch, a species that carries live young. During their spawning season a caught fish may discharge their young as they die or when handled. The angler may then be in possession of more than the 10 surf perch limit of one species, but wardens clearly understand this biological phenomenon.


Baiting Crab Traps with Rockfish:
Question: I belong to a popular fishing forum on the Internet, and most of my fellow sport fishermen say that when they bait their crab traps/pots, they can use whatever bait they want. Many people are using the carcasses from regulated game fish, such as rockfish, after the fish have been filleted. During previous salmon seasons, they used salmon carcasses, too. Isn't there something in the regulations about this subject? If a person saves their fish carcasses in their freezer, for instance, and then goes out and uses those carcasses in their crab traps, isn't that still considered as "possession"? If I put out crab pots baited with rockfish carcasses, spend the day catching my limit of rockfish and then come back to pull my pots to head back in, I not only have my legal limit of fresh rockfish, but also a bunch of other rockfish carcasses. And what about having those carcasses when a fish isn't even in season?

I seem to be alone in believing that we need to follow certain rules about using fish as crab bait, and now I am very anxious to clear this up once and for all, with your help. Thank you so much for your time and consideration in this matter. (Cat C., North Fork)

Answer: Generally, portions of the fish that are normally discarded after cleaning do not count toward a possession limit. For example, lets say you catch 10 rockfish. When you clean them, you end up with 20 fillets and 10 boney carcasses in your possession. Most people would discard the 10 carcasses, minus the fillets, and keep the 20 fillets to eat. The 20 fillets are your possession limit of 10 rockfish. You can keep the 10 carcasses for crab bait and these carcasses would not count as part of your rockfish possession limit.

According to Department of Fish and Game Lieutenant Dennis McKiver, to eliminate any questions or confusion when you go out crabbing and fishing for rockfish, set your crab traps baited with rockfish carcasses first. Then, at the end of the day when you are returning with limits of rockfish, you can pull your crab traps and discard the used rockfish carcasses before returning to port. Otherwise it may look as though you went out and caught a limit of rockfish to use as crab bait and then continued to catch another limit of rockfish to take home. People have been caught and cited for doing this.

Also, make sure that any fish carcasses you use are from legal fish. Many crab fishermen get cited because the carcasses they are using are from undersized salmon, lingcod, cabezon, greenling or other fish with size limits, or from cowcod, canary, yelloweye or bronzespotted rockfish or other restricted species. They may tell their friends they got cited by the warden for using a fish carcass as crab bait, but the real story is that they got cited for the illegal take and possession of restricted fish.


Prolific Lionfish Jeopardize Cayman Reefs

In an attempt to prevent the invasive aliens from consuming all the young and small fish on the famous coral reefs of the Cayman's, more than three hundred scuba divers have now been certified to catch the voracious red lionfish...

A diving operation in the British Caribbean territory, Divetech, is running boat weekly to specifically catch the lionfish. Licensed fishermen are also collecting them on regular fishing trips and diving from the shore.

"We tell them, this is not a pleasure dive and they are hunting fish," said Simon Dixon, a lionfish hunter and scuba instructor for DiveTech, "You have to be slow and careful and you have to treat them with respect. We have found they are quite clever. So if you move too quickly and scare the fish off, they will remember you and when you get close again they will retreat immediately."

Having no natural predators in the Caribbean, and laying up to 30,000 eggs each month the lionfish can consume all small fish on a reef in five weeks, threatening the balance of the delicate ecosystem. They are native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, and were first spotted in the Cayman's in early 2008 where they quickly multiplied. Last year same 600 red lionfish were removed from the waters surrounding the cayman's, but experts say that this may not be enough to push back the invading species.

Bradley Johnson, a research officer with the islands' Environment Department, said that reports were being made of more of the lionfish spotted in the waters and also that they were increasing in size.

"They have been caught in all habitats around the islands including dive sites down to 120 feet (36 metres), shallow waters and in the North Sound. We have also confirmed reports from as deep as 300 feet (91 metres)."

"At present, the only solution to the invasion is for divers to remove lionfish from the reefs," Hixon said. "We are also working in the Pacific Ocean to study lionfish in their native range to determine why they are uncommon there relative to the Atlantic and Caribbean."

In recent years the population of the red lionfish has exploded all along the the US eastern and the Atlantic islands of the Bahamas and Bermuda, and throughout the Caribbean into Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba and Belize. It is believed that they were introduced to the waters in Florida during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when an aquarium broke and at least six fish escaped in to Miami's Biscayne Bay.

First time sightings in 2009 were reported in Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Aruba, according to the US Geological Survey.

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