FMP Amendment 18: Rebuilding plan for Pacific sardine

Action status

  • Implemented
  • Undergoing NMFS Review
  • Approved by Council
  • Under development by the Council

On July 9, 2019, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) notified the Council that the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine is overfished. The Council is obligated to develop a rebuilding plan, which must be implemented within two years of the notification (i.e., July 9, 2021). NMFS determined that the stock was overfished based on a 2019 stock assessment, which estimated that the Pacific sardine stock size on July 1, 2019, would be 27,547 mt. This is below the minimum stock size threshold of 50,000 metric tons identified in the CPS FMP.

In order to meet the two-year deadline, NMFS requested that the Council finalize its action within 15 months of its notification (October 2020) so that NMFS has time to implement rebuilding measures within the two-year time period.

At its June 2020 meeting the Council adopted the sardine rebuilding plan range of alternatives recommended in the CPSMT report, and added a five percent fixed harvest rate alternative. The Council directed the SSC CPS Subcommittee to meet in July to consider the Rebuilder tool specifications and its application for analysis of the rebuilding alternatives.  The Council took final action to adopt a rebuilding plan for sardine at its September 2020 meeting, selecting Alternative 1, Status Quo Management. The rebuilding plan includes the following reference points: Tmin = 12 years, Tmax = 24 years, Ttarget = 14 years, and a Rebuilding target = 150,000mt age-1+ biomass. 

The Council transmitted the plan amendment to NMFS for Secretarial review on January 27, 2021.

NMFS published a notice of availability in the Federal Register on March 16, 2021. Comments were due by May 17, 2021.

NMFS also made an environmental assessment available evaluating the FMP amendment.

The plan was approved June 14, 2021; see the NMFS approval letter.