View Full Version : Cleaning your catch in California waters "on board", how does one stay legal?

09-21-2012, 11:29 AM
California regulations state that is is illegal to "possess fish in a condition that the size or species cannot be determined." FGC 5508 and 5509 (discussing "on any boat" or "brought ashore") are cited and they include NO exceptions. This would mean that it would be illegal to clean and cook crab while on board a house boat or other such craft where cooking is common. Seems that there should be some sort of exception in order. Is there, or would one be taking a chance to clean and cook crab (or any other sea food species) while still on board?

09-21-2012, 12:25 PM
aj,I don't have a clue about the legality of it an I'm not even gonna ck.the regs to try an figure it out,but if I was on a houseboat or any boat cooking up my catch for the day you may want to save a few parts of whatever it is your eating like the carcass of the striper or whatever for some proof if need be,I've never heard of anybody getting busted for this...I've done it many times when a buddy had a lg.cruiser berthed at SF,we ate some of our catch on the boat when we got back an nobody worried about it....BUT who knows if it was legal or not,we never worried about it.....Don

09-29-2012, 11:39 AM
I'm gonna guess that you would only have a problem if a warden had reason to believe you had done something else really wrong....I.e, undersized fish, over limits, etc. Isn't a boat considered a home, just like an RV assuming it's got some form of galley or kitchen onboard? In the case of Dungeness crab, simply keep the back shell, not only would this allow them to determine species, but size as well. To the best of my knowledge, you can clean any fish( gut and gill) but many species aren't allowed to be filleted onboard.......there must be some sort of exemption for those who live aboard a boat, possibly a shoreside dock or berth is considered to be other than "on board"? Either way, it's an interesting dilemma, and different wardens might interpret it differently.

Line Stretcher
09-29-2012, 11:59 AM
www.dfg.ca.gov (http://www.dfg.ca.gov) You should ask DFG for further clarification rather than asking the question here. They are availble for these types of inquiries and will respond.

09-30-2012, 09:04 AM
Yes, it's best to talk to someone with DFG! Better still, write down there name, phone number with extension or email addy, and when you spoke with them, along with the opinion they gave you regarding the particular issue......then after all that, should you have a warden who questions your activity, you've got something to show them.....or to show the judge if a ticket is issued. On this issue, and others related to DFG in particular, I want to thank you pdgs for putting your time in contacting DFG on behalf of your fellow anglers, it's much appreciated! Bob

10-01-2012, 11:29 AM
On most weekends that My family and I have spend on the boat we did not stay in any harbor or marina but we would catch fish for dinner but never more that we could eat in one sitting.I would fillet the rock cod or sand dabs and pass them off to the galley and into the fry pan. and the heads and bones went back into the water.my thought was with no bones and no meat there was no evidence and no tickets.But while we were fishing all fish on board were legal if we did get checked before dinner

11-23-2012, 03:02 PM
I often wonder if there is any state in the entire USA that has more fishing regs than California. More and also more complicated.) You almost have to be a lawyer that specializes in it! :)

11-23-2012, 04:14 PM
I often wonder if there is any state in the entire USA that has more fishing regs than California. More and also more complicated.) You almost have to be a lawyer that specializes in it! :)Hey ya ol lurker where ya been????....Don