Friday, March 27, 2009

Know the Rules - Part Deux!

This appeared in the "DFG Q&A" email I get every week. Since it's actually one of the more common questions we get in the store and on the phone, I thought I'd reprint it here:

We do a lot of ocean fishing and spear fishing and we have a question: Does an angler or spear fisher have to stop fishing once they reach their bag limit even if they are with another licensed angler or spear fisher without their limit? For example, if I am on my boat rock fishing with a friend and I catch my limit but my licensed friend is having a slow day, can I legally gift him some of my limit and continue fishing? The same with spear fishing. I know in years past I have been on boats where fishing was not stopped until the boat had limits for everyone fishing. This seems like a gray area to me and I just want to make sure I am following legal and ethical methods while diving and fishing. Thank you. (Charlie C.)

You can help your friends who are having a slow fishing day only if you are fishing from a boat on the ocean. Boat limits are allowed only for ocean anglers fishing for finfish while aboard a boat. This does not apply for divers or for people fishing for invertebrates (e.g. lobsters and crab). Boat limits mean that all licensed anglers (and anglers under 16) may keep fishing until enough fish have been caught to fill all the anglers collective bag limits. It doesn't matter who caught the fish as long as nobody is over-limit when they depart the boat. This provision is allowed only in this situation for saltwater anglers fishing with hook and line. It does not extend to divers or to shore fishermen or to people fishing in inland waters (FGC Section 27.60[c]).


Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Her DFG-related question and answer column appears weekly at . While she cannot personally answer everyones questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at .


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