The California Department of Fish and Game now offers a website that features a weekly column to answer questions about: California’s many fish and wildlife species; hunting and fishing methods, regulations and opportunities; and natural resource conservation. The following are some questions and answers recently featured on the site:
Can sport-caught fish be prepared and consumed at sea when fishing/diving from a private vessel?
Yes, legally taken fish may be prepared and consumed at sea, but there are some restrictions. Abalone must remain attached to their shell and lobster tails must remain attached to the carapace until they are being prepared for immediate consumption. For finfish that may be filleted at sea, the skin (or prescribed portion) must remain attached for species identification until they are being prepared for immediate consumption.
If I catch my limit of the fish I’m fishing for, can I continue fishing catch-and-release? If my buddy doesn’t have his limit, can I fish for him? If I don’t want to keep the fish, can I fish for other people?
When fishing in fresh water, each person is allowed to take only one daily bag limit per day. Once you catch your daily limit for a species of fish, you are done fishing for that type of fish. If you want to catch and release fish, you must do so before you take the last fish of the limit. If you want to give someone your fish, you may do so, but those fish will still count toward your daily bag limit, and the person receiving the fish cannot have more than the legal limit in their possession either.
In addition, if you take an overlimit (for example, seven trout when the limit is five), and you give two to someone else, that person is now in possession of illegally taken fish and could be cited too, even if they are not over their daily bag limit.
When fishing in the ocean, however, boat limits are allowed for anglers fishing from a boat, which means that all anglers can continue fishing until the total numbers of fish on the boat are equal to the total number of fish allowed for every angler, despite who actually caught each fish. Upon departing the boat, each passenger can only possess one daily bag limit.
A friend recently hit a deer, causing about $1,200 damage to the vehicle. He picked up the deer and put it in his truck to take home for food. He was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy who told him to take the deer out of his vehicle or he would be cited. I heard that it is legal to pick up “roadkill.” Can you please clarify this?
The officer was correct. It is illegal to pick up roadkill wildlife in California. No one may possess wildlife in any form unless the animal was legally taken by a licensed hunter during the hunting season for that species and while using approved harvest methods. Given this, even if the first criteria were true (your friend was a licensed hunter), motor vehicles are not a legal method of take. The next time your friend sees an animal killed on the roadway, he should not attempt to retrieve it for any purpose.