Code Section Group

Fish and Game Code - FGC

DIVISION 6. FISH [5500 - 9101]

  ( Division 6 enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456. )


  ( Part 3 enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456. )

CHAPTER 1. Generally [7600 - 8126]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456. )

ARTICLE 2. General Provisions [7700 - 7712]
  ( Article 2 enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456. )


As used in this chapter:

(a) “Reduction plant” means any plant used in the reduction or conversion of fish into fish flour, fishmeal, fish scrap, fertilizer, fish oil, or other fishery products or byproducts.

(b) “Packer” means any person canning fish or preserving fish by the common methods of drying, salting, pickling, smoking, cold packing, or vacuum packing.

(c) “Fish offal” means the heads, viscera, and other parts of fish taken off in preparing for canning, preserving, packing, and preparing for consumption in a fresh state.

(d) “Stamp,” except where otherwise specified, includes an electronic validation of privileges issued to the licensee.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 112, Sec. 62. Effective January 1, 2002.)


The commission may regulate and control fishing boats, barges, lighters or tenders, receptacles or vehicles containing fish, commercial fishermen, packers, reduction plants, plants where fish products are manufactured, and dealers in fish, or fishery products, insofar as necessary to insure the taking and delivery of fish and fishery products in a wholesome and sanitary condition to canning, packing or preserving plants, or to any plant where fishery products are manufactured, or to any fresh fish dealer, and to prevent deterioration and waste of fish.

(Enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456.)


The department may enter and examine any canning, packing, preserving, or reduction plant, or place of business where fish or other fishery products are packed, preserved, manufactured, bought or sold, or board any fishing boat, barge, lighter, tender, or vehicle or receptacle containing fish, and ascertain the amount of fish received, or kind and amount of fishery products packed or manufactured and the number and size of containers or cans for fishery products purchased, received, used, or on hand and may examine any books and records containing any account of fish caught, bought, canned, packed, stored or sold.

(Enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456.)


No sardines, anchovies, mackerel, or squid intended for or used in any cannery shall be unloaded from any vessel except at a weighing or measuring device approved by the Bureau of Weights and Measures. Such products shall be weighed by a public weighmaster licensed as an individual under the laws of this state and a receipt as to such weight shall be immediately issued by the weighmaster to the fisherman at the time of receipt of such products. Copies of such receipt shall be handled in the manner provided in Sections 8043 to 8047, inclusive.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 246, Sec. 1.)


The commission may establish grades for different varieties of fish or fishery products, which grades shall be conformed to by persons who take or use sardines for bait or who deliver fish or other fishery products to packers or to fresh fish dealers. Every packer of fish, fish dealer, or manufacturer of fish products shall conform to the grades established by the commission.

(Enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456.)


(a) It is unlawful to cause or permit deterioration or waste of a fish taken in the waters of this state, or brought into this state, or to take, receive, or agree to receive more fish than can be used without deterioration, waste, or spoilage.

(b) Except as permitted by this code, it is unlawful to use a fish, except fish offal, in a reduction plant or by a reduction process.

(c) Except as permitted by this code or by regulation of the commission, it is unlawful to sell, purchase, deliver for a commercial purpose, or possess on a commercial fishing vessel registered pursuant to Section 7881, a shark fin or tail or part of a shark fin or tail that has been removed from the carcass. However, a thresher shark fin or tail that has been removed from the carcass and whose original shape remains unaltered may be possessed on a registered commercial fishing vessel if the carcass corresponding to the fin or tail is also possessed.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 137. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)


All chutes or conveyors used to convey fish or fish offal to any receptacle, and all receptacles containing fish or fish offal to be used for reduction purposes, shall be so constructed and maintained that the fish or fish offal thereon or therein is at all times open to view and inspection.

(Enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456.)


A written complaint may be made to the commission against any person who violates Section 7700 to 7705, inclusive, 7707, 7708, 8075 to 8080, inclusive, or 8153, or any regulation adopted thereunder, by any person having information or knowledge of the violation. If the person charged is found guilty of the offense charged, the commission may suspend, for a period not to exceed 90 days, any license issued by any state board or officer to that person to take, buy, sell, can, or preserve fish or fishery products. No other license shall be issued to that person during the period of suspension. The proceedings shall be conducted at one of the commission’s regularly scheduled meetings.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 1244, Sec. 7.)


Any reduction plant in which any fish or any part thereof is used in violation of the provisions of Sections 7700 to 7706, inclusive, 7708, 8151, 8153 to 8157, inclusive, and 8075 to 8080, inclusive, of this code, or in violation of any regulation of the commission, is a nuisance. Whenever the existence of such nuisance is shown to the satisfaction of the superior court of the county in which the reduction plant is situated, by complaint filed in the name of the people of the State of California, the court may issue a temporary injunction to abate and prevent the continuance or recurrence of such nuisance. If the existence of a nuisance is established in such action, an order of abatement shall be entered as part of the judgment in the case, which order shall direct the closing, for 12 months, of the building or place where such nuisance was maintained, and, during such time, the building or place shall be and remain in the custody of the court.

(Enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456.)


The commission may make and enforce such regulations as may be necessary or convenient for carrying out any power, authority, or jurisdiction conferred under this article.

(Enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456.)


The commission may establish rules and regulations for the commercial taking of fish for educational and scientific purposes.

(Added by Stats. 1969, Ch. 689.)


(a) If the director determines, based on the best available scientific information, or other relevant information that the director possesses or receives, and on at least one public hearing in the area of the fishery, that taking in a fishery is being conducted in a manner that is not sustainable, the director may order the closure of any waters or otherwise restrict the taking under a fishing license in state waters of that species. Any closure or restriction order shall be adopted by emergency regulation in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(b) The director shall bring to the attention of the commission within seven working days any regulations adopted pursuant to this section. Any regulations shall be effective for only 30 days unless the commission extends the closure or restriction under any authority it may have, or unless the director orders another closure or restriction, consistent with the requirements of subdivision (a).

(c) The department shall give notice of any hearing to be held pursuant to this section to the commission and its marine resources committee as far in advance of the hearing date as possible.

Nothing in this section or Section 7710.5 restricts any existing jurisdiction of the department with regard to the regulation of fisheries on the high seas.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 483, Sec. 18. Effective January 1, 2000.)


A closure or restriction under Section 7710, or the removal of a closure or restriction under Section 7710.5, may be appealed to the commission. The commission shall hear and decide the appeal within a time that is meaningful, taking into account the duration of the fishery and the economics of the fishery.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1052, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 1999.)


If, during the period that regulations adopted pursuant to Section 7710 are effective, the director determines, based on thorough and adequate scientific evidence and at least one public hearing in the area of the fishery, that any species or subspecies the taking of which was previously restricted, has recovered or additional evidence indicates that the resource is not in danger of irreparable injury, the director may remove the restriction on taking. Action to remove the restriction shall be by adoption of an emergency regulation in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

The director shall bring to the attention of the Legislature, within seven calendar days, any regulations adopted pursuant to this section.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 193, Sec. 20.)


(a) A person shall, upon request by an authorized agent or employee of the department, immediately relinquish, at no charge, fish or parts of fish caught or landed in California to the department for the purpose of collecting a biological sample.

(b) For purposes of this section, “person” means a person licensed pursuant to Section 7850 or a person licensed pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 8030).

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 757, Sec. 3. (SB 80) Effective October 9, 2021.)


Where a fishery is closed or restricted due to the need to protect a fishery resource, marine mammals, or sea birds, or due to a conflict with other fisheries or uses of the marine environment, it shall be the policy of the department and the commission, consistent with budgetary and personnel considerations, to assist and foster the development of alternative fisheries or alternative fishing gear for those commercial fishermen affected by the restrictions, closures, or resource losses, including, but not limited to, the issuing of experimental fishing permits pursuant to Section 1022.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 477, Sec. 6. (AB 1573) Effective January 1, 2019.)

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