Abalone Season–Coming Up!

Spring has sprung!  And that means time to think about Abalone…..

Here are the regulations for the 2016 season from Kenny Priest, For the Times-Standard


Abalone season will open on Friday, April 1 along the North Coast from the San Francisco Bay north. New regulations effective in 2014 closed parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park to the take of abalone.

2016 regulations for breath-hold divers:

Season and times: The season runs from April 1 through November, excluding the month of July. Diving is legal from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset.

What you’ll need:

1) Fishing license. (Not required for 15 years old and younger.)

2) Abalone report card, which costs $22.42. (Must be in your possession while diving. Also required for those 15 years or younger.)

3) Fixed caliper measuring device.

Limit and size restrictions: Three per day, three in possession and no more than 18 per year. Only nine may be taken from Sonoma and Marin counties. Must be 7 inches or larger. You must keep any legal abalone you pull from a rock and if it is not legal, you must stick it back on the same rock from where it came. Only your hand or a legal abalone iron can be used to pry them from the rocks.

General regulations:

As soon as you get out of the water or step foot in a boat, you must tag your abalone. The tag needs to go through the siphon holes and held together with some type of string or zip tie. The shell cannot be removed until preparation begins for cooking or eating.

For more information, visit


Salmon? Not looking Good..

Low numbers of ocean salmon raise specter of no commercial fishing in 2016

More bad news for California commercial fishermen was announced this week with a low abundance of ocean salmon likely to spell severely limited commercial seasons this year.

The heavily-restricted salmon season options released by federal fishery managers this week comes just ahead of a Fishermen’s Benefit Dance planned for Saturday in Crescent City Harbor to aid fishermen already struggling from this year’s unprecedented Dungeness crab closure.

Experts say warming ocean waters from El Nino as well as climate change produced a giant toxic algal bloom that spoiled California’s crab fishery and has also impacted ocean salmon stocks. Salmon fisheries have also taken a hard hit competing for scarce water resources during California’s drought. Only three percent of juvenile winter-run Sacramento Chinook salmon are believed to have survived migrating to the ocean last year due to the drought.

None of the options for the Klamath Management Zone (north of the Humboldt South Jetty to Oregon border) have any commercial salmon fishing from May through August.

Recreational salmon fishing options in the KMZ are much more liberal generally opening in May and running through Labor Day, although every alternative includes closed periods to reduce impacts to the beleaguered Klamath stocks.

“California’s salmon fishermen will unfortunately face further devastating losses and significant economic hardship this year, worsened by the constant push to divert more water from the Bay-Delta estuary,” said Huffman in a statement released Tuesday. “Yesterday’s announcement confirms that this is not the time for Congress to weaken protections for salmon and their ecosystems. Unless we begin enacting both short and long-term solutions to our drought challenges, salmon fishermen will continue to pay the price.”


Salmon Season 2016?

What is in-store for the 2016 ocean Salmon Season?

Not sure yet, but there is a lot of concern over the persistent drought in the Klamath and Sacramento Rivers, El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean and lower than expected returns of Chinook and Coho salmon last year.
Outlined below is the process and how you can be involved in the decision making.


Salmon Preseason Process: Calendar of Events and Contact Information

2016 California ocean salmon sport and commercial fishing regulations have not yet been determined. Fishery regulations that take effect in April for the area south of Horse Mountain will be finalized at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) meetings in March. Regulations in effect on or after May 1, 2016 will be adopted at the PFMC and FGC meetings in April.

March 9-14, 2016

PFMC March Meeting
DoubleTree by Hilton Sacramento, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA 95815
The Council will determine if any in-season action for fisheries scheduled to open in April is needed. They will also adopt three regulatory alternatives for ocean salmon fisheries in effect on or after May 1. Final alternatives for public review will be decided on March 14.
Preseason Report II: Proposed Alternatives and Environmental Assessment Part 2 for 2016 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations will be available online March 22, 2016 at:www.pcouncil.org.

March 15, 2016

California FGC Meeting – Teleconference
Commission Conference Room 1320, 1416 9th St., Sacramento, CA 95814
Proposed changes to Ocean Salmon Sport Fishing Regulations for 2016 will be addressed at this meeting. The Commission will take final action on Ocean Salmon Sport Fishery Regulations in effect during April 2016. The public may address and/or ask questions of the Commission relating to the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Agenda and audio available online at: www.fgc.ca.gov.

March 29, 2016 (7:00 p.m.)

PFMC Public Hearing – California
Motel 6 Convention Room, 400 S. Main St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437
The Council will receive comments from the public on the three California ocean salmon fishery management regulatory alternatives adopted by the Council in March. More information is available at: www.pcouncil.org.

April 9-14, 2016

PFMC April Meeting
Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth Street, Vancouver, WA 98660
The Council will tentatively adopt final regulatory measures for analysis by the STT during this meeting. Final adoption of recommendations to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is scheduled to be completed by April 13.
Preseason Report III: Analysis of Council-Adopted Management Measures and Environmental Assessment Part 3 for 2016 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations will be available online April 22, 2016 at: www.pcouncil.org.

April 18, 2016

California FGC Meeting – Teleconference
Commission Conference Room 1320, 1416 9th St., Sacramento, CA 95814
The Commission will take final action on Ocean Salmon Sport Fishery Regulations in effect on or after May 1, 2016. The public may address and/or ask questions of the Commission relating to the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Agenda and audio available online at: www.fgc.ca.gov.

Dungeness Crab Closuere Update: Still No Time Frame

Crab Boats Sit Idle
Crab Boats Sit Idle

Here is an update from Ben Platt on the salmon, albacore and crab fishermen Facebook page.

“So there was a conference call hosted by PCFFA’s Tim Sloane for us to try to get some answers from DFW, some insight from the Washington domoic acid closures, and to brainstorm with crabbers from all the California ports about how to get some positive PR before we reopen. Here’s the highlights:

As expected, nothing really new from DFW. We still do not know how much of the DCTF’s recommendations regarding testing protocols and reopening will be adopted. However, Tom Barnes and Pete Kalvass of DFW told us they would prefer to have a statewide opener as recommended, with the caveat that the regs simply allow the Director to reopen the fishery when it is deemed safe to eat the crabs, so there are no guarantees he will follow the DCTF’s wisdom.
In the short term, we know that retesting is supposed to happen in Monterey Bay and the Morro Bay area this week and boats will be sent out of HMB, SF, Bodega Bay and Crescent City between the 16-18th next week, weather permitting.

If the original plan is followed, there will be bi-weekly testing until an average DA count of 60ppm is achieved statewide, then it will go to weekly testing until all areas are clean of DA, then another clean test a week later to confirm it; at which point the recreational season will open with the commercial season opening 7 days later.
And it was clarified that only one lab in the state is approved by the Department of Public Health to do the lab work so tests can take anywhere from 3 days to a week to get results.

There was a presentation by Dan Ayers of Washington who is a top researcher on domoic acid in the crab fishery. Among other things, he said that it took about 4 months for the DA to clear out of the crabs last summer in WA, from the first high test result in early June until the end of September. Also of note: water quality does not seem to play a roll, what crabs are feeding on determines how much DA accumulates in their viscera.
Pete Kalvass of DFW said that they are monitoring the size and area covered by the algae bloom which is producing the neurotoxin, and that the bloom is now dissipating in our coastal waters.

It was re-emphasized to the state reps that we are uniformly opposed to a piecemeal reopening of the recreational season. It was pointed out that the crabs migrate and a “clean area” could easily be inundated by “dirty” crabs. And one sick civilian would be disastrous for all of us. Also the potential for thousands of sport boats crowding into an area like Monterey Bay where the commercial boats might not be able to set gear for months could result in a complete wipeout.

There were questions about potential disaster relief, and Tom Weseloh, our state legislative liaison, said that since it currently just a delay there is no way to predict if it will qualify as a disaster. He did say that if it became a season closure, financial aid would be a definite possibility and could be retroactive. In the meantime, he thought that unemployment benefits might be available but there is no guarantee that EDD would agree.
There will be a meeting of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Steele Lane Community Center in Santa Rosa on Dec. 3 from 3-6 pm where many of the issues related to the DA crisis will be discussed. The public is welcome to attend.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to a discussion among the fishermen of potential PR we can do to mitigate the disastrous media coverage to date and to try and restore consumer confidence before we start putting crab on the market.

Tim Sloane (PCFFA) and Larry Collins (Crab Boat Owners, SF) have contacted several firms who are interested in helping us. The buy-in is about $5,000 for a short term campaign. By tomorrow we should have some ideas pitched to us by at least one outfit in SF.

All the ports agreed to pitch in $500 apiece to get this rolling. Donations can be mailed to:
PCFFA/ Crab PR Fund
POB 29196
SF, CA 94129

A committee was formed to organize a crab feed/media event at Fishermen’s Wharf in SF a few days before our season opens to show the public that the crabs are good to go and to get the media to give us some badly needed positive coverage.

Thanks to Lori Vaccaro French for taking notes.”

Commission Delays Opener of Recreational Dungeness Crab Season


The California Fish and Game Commission today voted 3-0 in favor of an emergency rulemaking to prohibit recreational take and possession of Dungeness crab and all rock crab from ocean waters, including bays and estuaries, north of the Ventura/Santa Barbara county line. Closure of the fisheries shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and no longer recommends the fisheries be closed.

The Commission also directed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to maintain a list of closed ocean waters of the state and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1 p.m. It shall be the responsibility of any person prior to taking Dungeness crab to call the department’s hotline (831) 649-2883 or visit the department’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories to obtain the current status of any ocean water.

The recreational Dungeness crab season was scheduled to start Saturday, Nov. 7

CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that the health risk to humans is significant. CDPH issued a health advisory on Tuesday. OEHHA followed that with a recommendation for delays and closures.

CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, epilepsy, and can in some cases be fatal.

Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California’s coast. Biologists tested crab from eight ports from Morro Bay to Crescent City, and determined that domoic acid levels are exceeding the State’s action level.

Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures due to the El Niño event California is experiencing are likely the cause of the size and persistence of this bloom.

Commercial fisheries are also affected by domoic acid levels. CDFW has authority to delay or otherwise restrict commercial fisheries and is developing an emergency rulemaking under that authority. The commercial Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to open Nov. 15.

Lots of Fish Stories Out there-Still No Salmon

Well, the ocean has been amazingly calm with small seas and little to no wind.

We try and provide a up to date fishing report, but when it is epic fishing conditions, a lot of things get push back.  And back and back……(do not look at my lawn or laundry pile).

Here are a couple of reliable sources for up to date fishing reports

From the Reel Steel:

7-10-15 The flat ocean conditions enticed us down to the rockfish grounds again today where we had 15 Ling Cod and limits of rockfish. The Halibut seem to be biting pretty good for those that are fishing for them and the salmon bite has slowed again. Lots of warm water all over the place but no reports of tuna closer than 80 miles or so. Let’s hope they are on their way here. The Bay has more anchovies now than I have seen in several years.

Fishing the North Coast: Calm seas provide an array of angling options

2015 Ocean Salmon Season Is Here!

Image result for chinook salmon photos

Season opener was basically blown out, as has the rest of the week.

However north wind is good for the ocean-it gets things churning and brings the cold water up and the bait fish’s food (up welling).  This brings the salmon up after the bait fish and makes it a lot easier to fill the freezer and your BBQ.

The Seascape Harbor and Pier is open.

  • The boat launch is open 6AM to 5PM, 7 days a week.
  • The water taxi is running 7 days a week this year.

Give us a call at the Seascape Harbor Bait Shop for the latest fishing news:


Click here for a complete summary of the regulations for 2015:

OR/CA Border to Horse Mountain (Crescent City To north of Shelter Cove)

Open May 1 – September 7, 2015

  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length

General Sport Regulations

  • Daily bag limit: 2 salmon of any species except coho.
  • Possession limit: No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.
  • Retention of coho salmon or steelhead trout is prohibited in any ocean fishery.
  • Salmon may not be filleted on any boat or prior to being brought ashore.
  • Salmon may only be taken by angling as defined in Section 1.05. No sinkers or weights exceeding 4 lbs may be used, except that a fishing line may be attached to a sinker or weight of any size if such sinker or weight is suspended by a separate line & the fishing line is released automatically by a mechanical device from the sinker or weight when any fish is hooked.
  • North of Pt. Conception: No more than 2 single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used & no more than 1 rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board.
  • Horse Mt. to Pt. Conception: When fishing with bait and angling by any means other than TROLLING1, no more than two (2) single-point, single-shank barbless CIRCLE HOOKS 2 shall be used. The distance between the two hooks must not exceed 5 inches when measured from the top of the eye of the top hook to the inner base of the curve of the lower hook and both hooks must be permanently tied in place (hard tied).
    NOTE: These special gear restrictions apply to each angler fishing for salmon or fishing from any boat or floating device with salmon on board.1. TROLLING is defined as angling from a boat or floating device that is making way by means of a source of power, other than drifting by means of the prevailing water current or weather conditions.
    2. A CIRCLE HOOK is defined as a hook with a generally circular shape and a point which turns inwards, pointing directly to the shank at a 90-degree angle.
  • Recovery of coded-wire tag from salmon head: Any person in possession of a recreationally taken salmon with a missing adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin on the back of the fish between the back fin and tail) shall immediately relinquish the head of the salmon, upon request by an authorized agent or employee of the Department, to facilitate the recovery of any coded-wire tag (§1.73).

Black Rockfish—-New Sport Fishing Regulations

Heads up –new restrictions are in place for the 2015 sport fishing season.

One new restriction is the ‘5 Black Rock Fish’ rule.

Here are the details from DFW:


Black rockfish may be found north of Paradise Cove off southern California in a wide variety of habitats, including near the surface, on the bottom to depths of 1,200 ft., near rocky reefs, and in open water over deep banks or drop-offs. They frequently form loose schools 10 to 20 ft. above shallow (to 120 ft.) rocky reefs, in kelp beds, or in mid-water over deeper reefs (to 240 ft.), but individuals may also be found resting on rocky bottom.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Brown to bluish-black on the back, paler on the sides, dirty white below. Continuous lighter band along lateral line. Body oval or egg-shaped; head with steep, almost straight upper profile; large mouth, lower jaw slightly projected. Black spots on the dorsal fin; anal fin rounded; upper jaw extends to rear of eye.

Life History & Other Notes
Black rockfish feed on squid, crab eggs, and various fishes. Like all rockfishes, fertilization and development of the embryos takes place within the body of the female. When development of the embryos is complete, the female releases the eggs. Exposure to sea water signals the embryos that it is time to break free of their egg cases.

These fish are commonly caught from commercial passenger fishing vessels, and incidentally when trolling for salmon. Rig a hook with almost any kind of cut fish bait. Mussel, clam, crab, shrimp, and squid strips work almost equally as well, as do some kinds of wet flies and other artificial lures.

 Black Rockfish Quick Facts:

Scientific Name: Sebastes melanops

Other Common Names: black snapper, black bass

Range & Habitat: Statewide in a variety of habitats; uncommon south of Pt. Conception

Length & Weight: to 27+ in. and 10+ lb.

Life Span: to 50 years

Diet & Suggested Bait/Lures: Feeds on squid, crab eggs, fishes; try cut fish, mussel, clam, crab, shrimp, or squid strips for bait. Some artificial lures including wet flies work as well.

Excerpt from the California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book. Single copies of the book are available to California residents free of charge by emailing a request topublications@wildlife.ca.gov.

California Coastal National Monument: Trinidad Gateway

Not many people know that the Trinidad area is part of the California Coastal National Monument and  is a part of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Landscape Conservation System (National Conservation Lands).

Here is some great information from the BLM’s webs site:

Fresh Crab is unloaded on to the pier.


The Trinidad area is one of the most spectacular and pristine segments of the California coast, and has been established as a California Coastal National Monument Gateway – an area that offers the best shore-based opportunities to discover and view offshore rocks and islands and their inhabitants.  As you begin your coastal discovery, please extremely fragile environment – tread lightly, view wildlife from a distance, and always respect your surroundings.


The canoe is a symbol of life and is important to the Yurok people for travel, food gathering, and religious ceremonies.

A large part of the Yurok culture is centered along the water’s edge, and ancestral villages are concen­trated along the coast and Klamath River. Tsurai, meaning mountain, is the southernmost permanent village within Yurok territory. The village domain extends north from Trinidad Head (Tsurewa) to Beach Creek (O prmrg wroi) several miles up the coast, and south to Little River (Me’tsko or Srepor). Just as in the past, the Tsurai Village, Tsurewa, and the offshore rocks continue to be components of the Yurok cultural landscape embedded with deep cultural, historical, and spiritualsignificance to the Tsurais of the Yurok people.

The Yurok inhabitants of Tsurai first made contact with Europeans when explorers Hezeta and Bodega anchored in the bay and claimed the harbor for Spain on Trinity (Trinidad) Sunday in 1775. Over the next 75 years, British, Russian, and Spanish ships landed here for refuge, exploration, and sea otter hunting

American settlement began in 1850, when Trinidad became a port of entry to the Trinity River gold diggings. Since then, Trinidad harbor has hosted lumber and fishing fleets, and even served as a whaling port during the 1920s, processing up to 300 humpback whales a year.

20150124_140221Today the harbor facilities are owned and operated by the Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria, and support a modest commercial and recreational fishing fleet, focusing mainly on salmon and dungeness crab. If you take a stroll down the Trinidad Pier, you might see some of these fishermen bringing in their catch.


It’s easy to imagine the pounding ocean waves and rushing coastal streams wearing away the area’s bluffs and beaches, but hidden far under the surface, even more powerful forces are at work as active faults squeeze, fracture, and uplift the same landscape. These natural processes continually reshape rugged coastal landforms.

Coastal bluffs – made of soft materials such as shale and clay – have been fractured and eroded away, forming sandy beaches such as College Cove and Old Home Beach. The harder, more 20150103_112731resistant rocks – such as basalt and greenstone – withstand the erosive forces and create cliff-ringed headlands such as Trinidad Head and Elk Head, as well as the numerous offshore rocks and islands.

The scale of offshore rocks can be hard to appreciate – some reach several acres in size and are taller than a 10-story building!


At first glance, the offshore rocks may look grey and barren, but a closer inspection reveals they are covered with life. Numerous plants have adapted to survive in the harsh coastal environment, and grow in pockets protected from winter waves and drying salt-spray. Marine mammals and birds are the most visible occupants, as the rocks provide them refuge from land-based predators such as foxes, raccoons, and humans, and also provide an easy escape from marine predators such as great white sharks.

Marine birds nest on the tops and sides of these rocks, and each bird species is partial to choosing just the right site.

Pigeon guillemots build nests in rocky crevasses, while storm-petrels dig small burrows on rocks that have patches of soil. Common murres are actually “pelagic” – they spend most of their lives on the open ocean and only come to the rocks to nest and lay their eggs right on top of the rocks!

Below the water’s surface, barnacles, sea stars, anemones, and a wealth of other intertidal life cement themselves to every inch of available space, taking advantage of one of the few stable places in this ever-changing environment.

Binoculars will allow you to view one of California’s largest colonies of Common murres – up to 60,000 birds nest on Green and Flatiron Rocks each spring and summer.


  1. Axel Lindgren Memorial Trail – Access to Old Home Beach from Memorial Lighthouse. Good family beach walking, protected from the wind with generally small waves. Great views of Camel rock, oyster-catchers, pelicans and harbor seals.
  1. Trinidad Head – 350-foot elevation gain, best overall views of coastline and nearby rocks, great views of Flatiron rock and Pewetole Island, and great seasonal whale watching opportunities.
  1. Parker Creek Trail – Beautiful forested walk to Old Home Beach. Access to tidepools and close-up views of sea lions, marine birds and offshore rocks.
  1. Elk Head – Yurok named me’wil-e’’g:rn meaning “elk stand – always”. Level hike through spruce forest to coastal headland. Spectacular views of Pewetole Island, Trinidad Head, Green Rock and the coast north towards Patrick’s Point. Look for harbor seals in cove north of point.

Trinidad Sate Beach – Walk the beach northward from the neck of Trinidad Head. Great spot to view geology close up and to get a taste of tidepool life. More ambitious hikers can follow bluff-top trails to College Cove and Elk Head.

Remember: Dogs on Leash!

Don’t forget to visit the Trinidad Museum! Check out the local artifacts and historic photos that tell the story of Trinidad, past and present.


Imagine spending part of each day underwater, part exposed to sun and drying winds, and the rest of the day being pounded by crashing waves. This is the daily life of inter-tidal plants and animals.

Low tide is a magical time when you can walk on the bottom of the ocean to view some of these fascinating life forms.  Trinidad’s best viewing of inter-tidal life is on the rocks along the north end of Trinidad State Beach and on parts of Old Home Beach. The most commonly seen creatures are barnacles, sea anemones, sea stars and a variety of kelp.  Remember, they are extremely sensitive! Watch your step and avoid lifting or disturbing them.


  • Watch quietly and avoid sudden movements
  • Bring binoculars to get a better view from a distance
  • If an animal notices your presence, back away
  • Do not attempt to rescue wildlife. If you think an animal is sick or injured, call the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center at (707) 465-6265

20150130_092131The HSU Marine Lab offers public displays on marine ecosystems and several aquariums with local marine life.

The Memorial Lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the Trinidad Coast and is a great viewpoint for whalewatching and spotting your favorite birds. On winter mornings, crab fishermen often gather here to watch the winter storm waves. They use certain offshore rocks to gauge wave-height, and call this spot “Chicken Point” as this is where they debate whether it is safe or smart to go out to sea that day!

Common Murre
Can fly as far as 100 miles to find food for their chicks and can dive up to 300 feet.

Pelagic Cormorant
Nest on rocky headlands and offshore islands and are often seen diving for fish.

Black Oystercatcher
With bright-red beaks, they pry limpets, mussels and other shellfish from the rocks.

Giant Green Anemone
Can live up to 50 years and like to eat small crabs, sea urchins and fish which they stun with stinging cells in their tentacles.

California Sea Lion
Can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and dive 500 feet deep.

Ochre Sea Star
Sea stars are voracious predators and use their tube feet to easily open clams and mussels to eat them.

Check tide tables before walking on beaches. Rising water can trap you against a cliff with no escape routes.

The pounding surf, ice cold water and rip currents can be treacherous.