Code Section Group

Fish and Game Code - FGC

DIVISION 6. FISH [5500 - 9101]

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

PART 3. COMMERCIAL FISHING [7600 - 9101]

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

CHAPTER 2. Particular Varieties of Fish [8140 - 8599.4]

  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456. )

ARTICLE 9. Salt-water and Anadromous Fish Generally [8370 - 8403]
  ( Article 9 enacted by Stats. 1957, Ch. 456. )

8370.
  

(a) Any striped bass, salmon, or sturgeon, if alive, that is taken in any type of net in any district shall be immediately liberated from the net by the fishermen and immediately returned to the water without further harm.

(b) Any striped bass, salmon, or sturgeon that is taken in any type of nets in any district shall be removed from the net by the fisherman and immediately returned to the water, regardless of the condition of the fish.

(c) The holder of a commercial fishing license shall not have in his or her possession, except when releasing fish from the net, any striped bass, salmon, or sturgeon, whether dead or alive, at any time when conducting netting operations or when going to or from those operations.

(d) Fish returned to the water in accordance with this section is not deterioration, waste, or spoilage of fish for purposes of Section 7704.

(Amended by Stats. 1995, Ch. 677, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1996.)

8371.
  

Striped bass and salmon may be sold or offered for sale only under the following conditions:

(a) If the striped bass is taken or possessed by, and is the cultured progeny of, an aquaculturist who is registered under Section 15101, that striped bass may be sold or purchased subject to regulations of the commission.

(b) If the striped bass is taken legally in another state that permits the sale of that fish and if the fish is lawfully imported under Section 2363, the striped bass may be possessed, sold, or purchased.

(c) If the salmon is taken legally in another state that permits the sale of salmon, and is lawfully imported consistent with Section 2361, the salmon may be possessed, sold, or purchased.

(d) If the salmon is taken in accordance with Article 4 (commencing with Section 8210.2), the salmon may be possessed, sold, or purchased.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 154, Sec. 92. (AB 1527) Effective January 1, 2016.)

8372.
  

Kelp bass, sand bass, or spotted bass, all of the genus Paralabrax, shall not be sold or purchased, or possessed in any place where fish are purchased, possessed for sale, or sold, or where food is offered or processed for sale, or in any truck, vessel, or other conveyance operated by or for a place so selling or possessing fish; except that those fish may be imported into this state pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 2345) of Chapter 4 of Division 3, and may be sold under regulations as the commission may adopt. It is unlawful to take, possess, or sell any fish less than 101/2 inches in length of the species specified in this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 285, Sec. 121. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8373.
  

No yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker, or California corbina may be sold or purchased, or possessed in any place where fish are purchased, possessed for sale, or sold, or where food is offered for sale, or in any truck or other conveyance operated by or for a place so selling or possessing fish.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1403, Sec. 9.)

8374.
  

Yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna may be taken at any time.

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

8375.
  

No bluefin tuna weighing less than 71/2 pounds may be sold, purchased, or processed.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 850.)

8376.
  

Albacore may be taken at any time.

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

8377.
  

(a) Pacific bonito less than 24 inches fork length or five pounds in weight shall not be taken or possessed on any vessel at any time for any commercial purpose, except as follows:

(1)  A load of bonito taken on a vessel by the use of round haul nets may contain 18 percent or less by number of bonito smaller than the minimum size.

(2)  A load of fish taken on a vessel by the use of gill nets or trammel nets may contain 1,000 pounds or less of bonito smaller than the minimum size per trip.

(b) Pacific bonito smaller than the minimum size, incidentally taken, may be used for any purpose.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 269, Sec. 4.)

8377.5.
  

Pacific bonito shall be measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the center of the fork of the tail fin.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 269, Sec. 5.)

8378.
  

Skipjack may be taken at any time.

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

8380.
  

(a) Giant seabass (Stereolepis gigas) may not be taken for any purpose, except that not more than one fish per vessel may be possessed or sold if taken incidentally in commercial fishing operations by gill or trammel net. Any fish so taken shall not be transferred to any other vessel.

(b) The restrictions specified in this section shall not apply to 1,000 pounds of giant seabass per trip taken in waters lying south of the International Boundary Line between the United States and Mexico extended westerly into the Pacific Ocean. Fish taken under this provision, however, shall be limited to a maximum aggregate of 3,000 pounds per vessel in any calendar year. A current fishing permit issued by the Mexican government constitutes valid evidence that the giant seabass were taken south of the international boundary.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 308, Sec. 1.)

8381.
  

It is unlawful to take grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) except between June 1st and March 31st.

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

8382.
  

Barracuda and yellowtail not less than 28 inches in length may be taken with hook and line at any time.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1370, Sec. 22. Effective October 27, 1992.)

8383.5.
  

It is unlawful to take, possess, sell, or purchase any white sea bass less than 28 inches in length, measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the end of the longer lobe of the tail.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1370, Sec. 24. Effective October 27, 1992.)

8384.
  

No barracuda or yellowtail less than 28 inches in length may be sold or purchased, except that not more than five barracuda and five yellowtail per day may be possessed by the holder of a commercial fishing license for noncommercial use if taken incidentally in commercial fishing.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1370, Sec. 25. Effective October 27, 1992.)

8385.
  

No person holding a commercial fishing license while on any barge or boat which for hire carries any sport fisherman may take or have in his possession in any one day more than the aggregate number of the following kinds of fish permitted in the case of sport fishing: bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, skipjack, yellowtail, marlin, broadbill swordfish, black seabass, albacore, barracuda, white seabass, bonito, rock bass, kelp bass, California halibut, California corbina, yellowfin croaker, and spotfin croaker.

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

8386.
  

Barracuda and yellowtail shall be measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the end of the longer lobe of the tail.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1370, Sec. 26. Effective October 27, 1992.)

8387.
  

From May 1st to August 31st, inclusive, all of the following are unlawful:

(a) For any one person to have in his or her possession on any boat, barge, or other vessel more than 500 pounds of yellowtail.

(b) For any two or more persons to have in their possession on any boat, barge, or other vessel a combined weight of more than 500 pounds of yellowtail per person.

(c) For any five or more persons to have in their possession on any boat, barge, or other vessel a combined weight of more than 2,500 pounds of yellowtail.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 573, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2003.)

8388.
  

(a) No female angel shark measuring less than 42 inches in total length or 151/4 inches in alternate length and no male angel shark measuring less than 40 inches in total length or 141/2 inches in alternate length may be possessed, sold, or purchased, except that 10 percent of the angel sharks in any load may measure not more than 1/2 inch less than the minimum sizes specified herein.

(b) Angel shark total length shall be measured from the anterior end of the head to the tip of the tail while the fish is lying in a position of natural repose. When measuring total length or alternate length, the tip of the tail may be laid flat against the surface of the measuring device. Angel shark alternate length shall be measured from the point where the leading edge of the first dorsal fin meets the back to the tip of the tail. Angel sharks may be constrained from lateral movement during measurement by restraining devices approved by the department.

(c) Angel sharks taken in gill or trammel nets shall be landed (brought ashore) with at least one intact pelvic fin and the tail fin attached.

(d) Angel sharks taken in gill or trammel nets shall not be transferred to or from another vessel, except that angel sharks may be transferred to or from vessels with a department observer on board. An observer shall observe and make a written record of that transfer.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 873, Sec. 6. Effective October 14, 1991.)

8388.5.
  

(a) A person shall not take, possess, sell, or purchase for commercial purposes any leopard shark less than 36 inches in total length.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), leopard sharks less than 36 inches in total length possessed by a person for aquarium display on or before January 1, 1994, may be retained by that person if a letter declaring that the shark was legally obtained prior to January 1, 1994, is provided to the Sacramento office of the department on or before January 1, 1995.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1100, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 1994.)

8389.
  

(a) Herring eggs may only be taken for commercial purposes under a revocable, nontransferable permit subject to such regulations as the commission shall prescribe. In addition to the license fees provided for in this code, every person taking herring eggs under this section shall pay a royalty, as the commission may prescribe, of not less than fifty dollars ($50) per ton of herring eggs taken.

(b) Whenever necessary to prevent overutilization, to ensure efficient and economic operation of the fishery, or to otherwise carry out this article, the commission may limit the number of permits which are issued and the amount of herring eggs taken under those permits.

(c) In limiting the number of permits, the commission shall take into consideration any restriction of the fishing area and the safety of others who, for purposes other than fishing, use the waters from which herring eggs are taken.

(d) Every person operating under a permit issued pursuant to this section is excepted from the provisions of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6650) of Part 1 of Division 6 for aquatic plants taken incidental to the harvest of herring eggs.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1009, Sec. 5.)

8391.
  

California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) may be taken at any time.

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

8392.
  

No California halibut may be taken, possessed, or sold that measures less than 22 inches in total length. Total length means the shortest distance between the tip of the jaw or snout, whichever extends farthest while the mouth is closed, and the tip of the longest lobe of the tail, measured while the halibut is lying flat in natural repose, without resort to any force other than the swinging or fanning of the tail.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 431, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2005.)

8393.
  

(a) Except where subdivision (b) has been complied with, marlin meat, whether fresh, smoked, canned, or preserved by any means, shall not be bought or sold, or possessed or transported for the purpose of sale.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, black marlin (Makaira Indica) may be imported into this state for the purpose of processing (manufacturing) a product commonly known as fish cakes for human consumption. All black marlin (Makaira Indica) imported into this state must be in an identifiable condition and accompanied by a bill of lading, showing the name of the consignor, the consignee, and the weight or number of fish shipped. A copy of the bill of lading must be delivered to the nearest office of the department either prior to or no later than two days after receipt of the fish. No black marlin (Makaira Indica) imported into California may leave the premises of the original consignee unless written permission is received from the department, or unless processed into the form of the product commonly known as fish cakes.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 154, Sec. 93. (AB 1527) Effective January 1, 2016.)

8394.
  

Swordfish shall not be taken, possessed aboard a boat, or landed by a person for commercial purposes except under a valid swordfish permit. At least one person aboard the boat shall have a swordfish permit issued to that person that has not been revoked or suspended, subject to regulations adopted by the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 870, Sec. 35. Effective January 1, 1997.)

8394.5.
  

The fee for the permit issued pursuant to Section 8394 is three hundred thirty dollars ($330). This permit fee does not apply to the holder of a valid drift gill net shark and swordfish permit required under Article 16 (commencing with Section 8561) or to any person who participates in the permit transition program established by the department pursuant to Section 8583.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 844, Sec. 2. (SB 1017) Effective January 1, 2019.)

8395.
  

(a) Upon the recommendation of the director regarding management measures for surfperch of the family Embiotocidae, the commission may adopt regulations to manage the commercial surfperch resource and fisheries consistent with Part 1.7 (commencing with Section 7050), including, but not limited to, adoption of changes to the prohibitions imposed under subdivision (b).

(b) Except as may be authorized under subdivision (a), surfperch of the family Embiotocidae may be taken only between July 16th and April 30th, except shiner surfperch (Cymatogaster aggregata), which may be taken, sold, or purchased at any time. Surfperch may be sold or purchased only between July 16th and May 10th, except as may be authorized under subdivision (a). South of a line drawn east and west through Point Arguello, barred surfperch, redtail surfperch, and calico surfperch may not be taken for commercial purposes, except as may be authorized under subdivision (a). Surfperch of these three species that have been taken north of the line during the open season and shipped south of the line may be sold or purchased under those regulations that the commission may prescribe.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 573, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2003.)

8398.
  

It is unlawful to take fish for commercial purposes in that portion of Tomales Bay in District 10 between a line drawn from the most northern tip of Tomales Point northeast, 47° magnetic, to the opposite shore in the vicinity of Dillon Beach, and a line drawn west from the western tip of Tom’s Point, 252° magnetic, to the opposite eastern shore of Tomales Point.

This section does not apply to the taking of oysters by persons licensed under Article 4 (commencing with Section 6480), Chapter 5, Part 1, Division 6, from their allotted areas.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1487.)

8399.
  

North of Point Conception, squid may be taken the year around; however, the commission may adopt regulations specifying the days of the week and the times of the day when squid may be taken.

(Added by Stats. 1983, Ch. 131, Sec. 16.5. Effective June 27, 1983.)

8399.1.
  

(a) In District 10, it is unlawful to engage in the following activities:

(1) Attract squid by a light displayed from any vessel, except a vessel deploying nets for the take, possession, and landing of squid or from the seine skiff of the vessel deploying nets for the take, possession, and landing of squid.

(2) Attract squid by a light displayed from any vessel whose primary purpose is not the deployment, or assisting in the deployment, of nets for the take, possession, and landing of squid.

(3) To encircle any vessel, other than by the seine skiff of a vessel deploying nets for the take, possession, and landing of squid, while that vessel is engaged in the taking of squid.

(b) For purposes of this section, “seine skiff” means a vessel that is not licensed by the federal government or registered by the Department of Motor Vehicles, that is used to assist a larger federally-licensed or state-registered fishing vessel by assisting in the deployment and retrieval of nets and the landing of fish, and that travels with that larger fishing vessel at all times, that is used solely at the direction of the operator of the larger fishing vessel, and that is owned by the owner of the larger fishing vessel.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 617, Sec. 17. Effective October 1, 1993.)

8400.
  

(a) California killifish (Fundulus parvipinnis), mudsuckers (Gillichthys mirabilis), and yellowfin gobies (Acanthogobius flavimanus) may only be taken for commercial purposes with baitfish traps in the tidewaters of Districts 31/2, 4, 41/8, 43/4, 16, 17, and 21, in the tidewaters of District 10 south of the City and County of San Francisco, in the Salton Sea, and in Imperial and Riverside Counties.

(b) Shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata), staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus), mudsuckers (Gillichthys mirabilis), and yellowfin gobies (Acanthogobius flavimanus) may only be taken for commercial purposes with baitfish traps in Districts 11, 12, and 13 and in the tidewaters of Districts 2 and 21/2.

(c) Any unauthorized species taken incidentally in baitfish traps in the districts specified in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall be immediately released.

(d) Baitfish traps, as described in Section 9020, may be used subject to Article 1 (commencing with Section 9000) of Chapter 4.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1009, Sec. 7.)

8403.
  

(a) To the extent not in conflict with Section 8607, marine species of fin fish which are classified as groundfish may be taken under the regulations of the commission.

(b) Marine species of fin fish, including, but not limited to, fin fish which are classified as groundfish, may be taken with fin fish traps, subject to Article 1 (commencing with Section 9000) of Chapter 4, under regulations of the commission. The regulations may limit the number of fin fish traps which any vessel may use, designate the areas in which the traps may be used, and prescribe other limitations on the use of fin fish traps.

(c) Any other species not otherwise prohibited may be taken in a fin fish trap.

(Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1271, Sec. 16.)

FGCFish and Game Code - FGC9.