Calif. sturgeon regs go into effect March 1 |

Calif. sturgeon regs go into effect March 1

Don Quilici

According to a press release by the California Dept. of Fish and Game (CDF&G), new regulations on the sturgeon sport fishery will go into effect on Thursday, March 1.

CDF&G announced that new regulations require possession of a Sturgeon Fishing Report Card and establish a three-fish annual bag limit on white sturgeon.

All anglers fishing for sturgeon are required to possess a Sturgeon Fishing Report Card and tags, which are free. Even anglers who are not required to have a sport fishing license, including those who are less than 16 years old and anglers who fish from public piers in ocean waters, must have a report card and tags to fish for sturgeon.

The Sturgeon Fishing Report Card is used to collect data for fisheries management and to enforce both daily and annual bag limits on white sturgeon. An angler may possess only one report card and three serialized tags per license-year.

Information on all sturgeon caught, including those released, must be immediately recorded on the Sturgeon Fishing Report Card with a ball point pen.

Serialized tags come attached to the bottom of each report card, and all white sturgeon kept must be tagged according to the instructions on the report card.

The tag must remain with the white sturgeon until the fish is processed, steaked, or filleted for consumption and stored at a residence or non-transient location.

Every angler who is issued a Sturgeon Fishing Report Card must return it to the address listed on the back of the card by Jan. 31, 2008, even if they did not fish for sturgeon, or if no sturgeon were caught.

The 2007 Sport Fishing Regulations Booklets are available for complete regulations on fishing for sturgeon.

Highlights of the regulations include the following:

Green sturgeon: May not be kept.

White sturgeon: Daily bag limit is one, the annual bag limit is three, and the size slot limit is 46 inches minimum length and 66 inches maximum length.

No ‘boat limits’ for white sturgeon. White sturgeon season is open all year, except for closures listed under special regulations.

As with prior regulations, an angler who keeps a white sturgeon must stop fishing for sturgeon for the day. Similarly, once an angler has kept three white sturgeon in a year they must stop fishing for sturgeon for the year.

Green sturgeon were listed in 2006 as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, and the new sport fishing regulations are the first in a series of new conservation measures.

Additional conservation measures are also warranted for white sturgeon due to their life-history and illegal trade in caviar made from their eggs.