California Commercial Fishing Restrictions
California fishermen are among the most strictly regulated in the world. Fishermen work closely with fishery managers to develop regulations and restrictions that conserve marine resources and insure a sustainable harvest. Such restrictions include limited-entry fisheries, minimum-size limits on many species, restrictions on gear configuration and deployment, time and/or area closures, and closed seasons. The Digest of California Commercial Fish Laws and Licensing Requirements in 1999 runs130 pages of fine print.
The following maps highlight the major closed and restricted areas, established through fishing regulations, that are now in place to conserve California's marine resources. It is important to consider these existing closed areas and other fishing restrictions, as well as the existing 104 marine protected areas in California, when planning any new resource conservation program. Further, any new conservation plan should adopt a "bottom-up" approach, with clearly defined conservation goals and objectives measured by objective science, and with participation in the design process by stakeholders, including fishermen whose lives and livelihoods revolve around the ocean.
For more information on conservation issues, including harvest refuges, please review articles posted in our News section: Hot Topics.
We hope these maps will provide a greater understanding of fishing restrictions and fishery conservation efforts in California. California fishermen are proud of their efforts to protect and conserve marine resources, and they take pride in the quality of the catch they provide to consumers. Without our local commercial fishermen, the public would not be able to enjoy the bounty of seafood harvested in California waters.