Revisions to the Federal List of Fisheries

The ad hoc Ecosystem Workgroup Report on Revising the Federal List of Fisheries and Gear Authorized for Use in the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone is now available. It will also be included in the September Council briefing book.

Background

As required by law, the National Marine Fisheries Service maintains a list of all fisheries and fishing gear authorized for use within each area under Council jurisdiction.  No person or vessel is permitted to “employ fishing gear or engage in a fishery not included on such list without giving 90 days advance written notice to the appropriate Council…” The list of fisheries essentially prohibits anyone from developing a new fishery without first providing a review opportunity to the appropriate Council. Fisheries not on the list are not prohibited altogether, but Councils may use the 90-day period to comment on, develop a regulatory plan for, or recommend that NMFS prohibit the proposed fishery as appropriate.

At its June 2013 meeting in Garden Grove, California, the Council discussed potential revisions to the federal list of fisheries and gear authorized for the U.S. West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ, 3-200 nautical miles offshore). At that meeting, the Council provided instructions on making modifications to the proposed revisions to the federal list of authorized fisheries and gear and those changes are incorporated in the table.

Several of the fisheries listed in the table are divided by latitude line to reflect different fishery regulations in the three coastal states, Washington, Oregon, and California.  Fisheries or gear restrictions that occur only off Washington are listed as applying north of 46°15’ N. lat.  Fisheries or gear restrictions that occur only off Oregon are listed as applying south of 46°15’ N. lat. and north of 42° N. lat.  Fisheries or gear restrictions that occur only off California are listed as applying south of 42° N. lat.  Some fisheries or gear restrictions may apply off two states, or off all three states.  If the Council adopts these latitude lines dividing where gear types may be used, those lines would apply to vessels operating in the EEZ regardless of where a vessel was based or the location of the port in which the vessel would land its fish.

The Council will be discussing its recommendations for revising this list at its September 12-17 meeting in Boise, Idaho.  Comments on whether this list accurately represents existing West Coast EEZ fisheries is appreciated; please email pfmc.comments@noaa.gov by midnight, September 2.

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