Fish and Game Commission Adopts White Seabass Management

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DFG News Release:  For Immediate Release

April 4, 2002

Fish and Game Commission Adopts White Seabass Management Plan

Contact: Chamois Andersen, Information Officer, (916) 657-4132 Don Schultze, Marine Region, (916) 227-5670

LONG BEACH, April 4, 2002 - The California Fish and Game Commission unanimously adopted the state's White Seabass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) at its meeting today in Long Beach.

California's white seabass fishery has made a comeback since the 1960s. As a result of intensive management efforts and regulations, white seabass (largest in the croaker family), are once again thriving in state waters.

"The white seabass plan will guide the Department of Fish and Game's future management efforts and seeks to maintain this economically viable fishery for both recreational anglers and commercial fishermen," said Patricia Wolf, DFG's Marine Region manager.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) developed a proactive management plan to ensure this fishery remains sustainable for the long-term. DFG presented the draft plan to the public and Commission at its Aug. 4, 2001 meeting in Sacramento.

In 1996, the Commission adopted an initial plan for the state's white seabass fishery. However, legislation was needed to fully implement the plan, but that legislation was never introduced. In 1998, the state Legislature enacted the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) granting broader authority to the Commission, and declaring that the White Seabass FMP remain in effect until amended and brought into compliance with the MLMA.

The White Seabass FMP uses a framework approach to managing the resource, and provides for more timely adaptive management changes. It also establishes a total annual harvest of 1.2 million pounds of fish. This level of harvest is expected to promote the continued growth of the white seabass fishery without impacting the harvest by commercial fishermen or recreational anglers because current harvest and projected future levels are below the proposed guidelines. These regulations will be discussed and considered for adoption at the Commission's May 9 hearing in Fresno.

White seabass (Atractoscion Nobilis) are large, highly prized fish that are important to both the recreational and commercial fisheries of California. Fish weighing close to 90 pounds and up to five feet have been recorded, though fish over 60 pounds are rare. White seabass off California's coast occur primarily between San Diego and Point Conception where they prey on squid, Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, and pelagic red crab.

Fishing is centered in Southern California. The recreational fishery consists of hook and line angling as well as spearfishing. White seabass are taken commercially by gill nets as well as by hooks and lines. For additional information on California's white seabass fishery, logon to DFG's Web site at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/wsfmp/index.html.
 

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