Question: I am a galley cook aboard a sport fishing vessel out of Channel Islands Harbor. We would like to know if it is legal to cook our passengers’ sport-caught fish for them while they are aboard. We get a lot of requests for this and want to know the legality of doing so. Please let us know so we can avoid any legal issues and provide clarity to our valuable passengers. Thank you. (Stephen C.)
Answer: Yes, galley cooks can prepare a fisherman’s sport-caught fish as long as the fisherman is aboard, the fish fillets meet any size requirements (California Code of Regulations Title14, section 27.65) and the fish is not prepared until ready for immediate consumption (Fish and Game Code, section 2015). According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lt. Eric Kord, “It would not be legal for the partyboat to hold a bunch of unidentifiable fillets in the galley fridge or an ice chest even if the plan is to cook them for the passengers. That won’t fly. As soon as the skin patch comes off or the fish gets chunked up, it must go onto a frying pan immediately and not be stored elsewhere.”
All bag limits and boat limits continue to apply even if some people’s fish are consumed. This means that those fish removed from people’s possession for preparation and consumption cannot then be replaced that day. Cooked fish still count toward the fisherman’s bag limit and the overall boat limit. Just because the fish was consumed does not mean passengers can then start fishing again to replace the fish if the boat limit has already been reached. If the bag limit is 10 for a fish, and the passenger catches 10, but eats one, the passenger cannot go take an 11th fish that day to replace the one he ate.
This is just CDFW’s part of the answer. The city/county might have their own take on it since you are probably operating under a business license that might have some restrictions regarding food storage and preparation.
Bottom line … you can cook sport caught fish for your passengers as long as the fish is counted toward the angler’s individual bag limit and the boat’s boat limit. The fish must also meet the fillet length requirements and any skin patches must be left on until the fish is prepared for immediate consumption.
ARs for hunting?
Question: There are many manufacturers that are producing a variety of AR-type centerfire and rimfire rifles for hunting. What are the regulations for using an AR-type rifle, rimfire or centerfire for hunting small and big game here in California? (Xoua X.)
Answer: AR-type rifles are semi-automatics and legal to possess and use for hunting in California as long as the ammunition being used is legal for the area and species being hunted.
Since the AR-type rifle is classified under California weapons laws as a legal firearm, it is legal for hunting so long as the caliber and ammunition are legal for the species you are hunting. Small game methods are found in CCR Title 14, section 311 and big game regulations are found in CCR Title 14, section 353. Within the California condor zone, you must use non-lead ammunition for taking big game and nongame mammals.
Definition of barbless hook?
Question: I want to try fishing in the Sacramento River this year for Chinook salmon and most of the area will require barbless hooks. Can barbed hooks with the barbs crimped down be legally considered barbless? (Eric V.)
Answer: Yes. Just be sure the crimped barbs are completely smooth so that no projections can be detected. To be sure, push it through any type of fabric and if no threads are snagged, you have a barbless hook. In the regulations a barbless hook is defined as a “hook from which the barb or barbs have been removed or completely bent closed, or which is manufactured without barbs” (CCR Title 14, section 1.19).
Fishing for salmon at night on the ocean or rivers?
Question: I have a question about ocean fishing from a boat at night. Is it legal to target salmon? What about fishing for salmon on rivers at night? I have looked all through the regulations and can’t find anything. Can you please clarify? (Mike G., Sacramento)
Answer: There are no time restrictions when fishing in the ocean unless you are fishing from a beach with a curfew. In most inland waters, salmon may only be taken between one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. (See CCR Title 14, section 3.00.) Night fishing for salmon is legal, however, in certain areas of the valley 3.00(b), south of interstate 80, 3.00(b)(2)(D). For more details, please check out the 2013-2014 Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/ or wherever fishing licenses are sold.
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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.