Annual season management

A school of silvery fish in a blue sea
A school of Jack Mackerel (Trachurus declivis). Photo: Richard Ling, Flickr

Species managed under the CPS FMP are categorized as actively managed (Pacific sardine and Pacific mackerel), monitored (market squid, jack mackerel, northern anchovy), or prohibited harvest (krill). In addition, there are two species classified as Ecosystem Component species (jacksmelt and Pacific herring), which are not subject to management measures.

Actively managed species are assessed more frequently than monitored stocks, and are classified as such based on biologically significant levels of catch, or biological or socioeconomic considerations requiring relatively intense harvest management procedures. Monitored stocks are typically less significant to the fishery, with abundance indices considered to be sufficient to manage the stock. Once harvest specifications are established, they remain in place until the Council chooses to re-visit allowable harvest or other management measures. Stocks may be moved between categories on short notice, based on socio-economic or conservation concerns.

Pacific sardine

The directed fishery for Pacific sardine has been closed since July 1, 2015, because the estimated biomass has been below the Cutoff value of 150,000 metric tons.  The April 2019 Pacific sardine stock assessment indicated an estimated biomass of 27,547 metric tons. This is below the overfished threshold of 50,000 mt, and NMFS declared the stock overfished in June 2019. The Council is required to develop a rebuilding plan and deliver it to NMFS by October 2020.

There are incidental allowances for sardine harvested in other CPS and non-CPS fisheries.  Small-scale (‘minor directed’) and live bait fishing can also take place, subject to annual catch limits and management measures.  At its April 2020 meeting the Council adopted measures for the 2020-2021 as described in the decision document for that meeting.

Pacific mackerel

The Council adopted a new benchmark stock assessment, and set annual harvest specifications in June 2019, for two consecutive years. See the Council’s June 2019 decision document, pages 1-2 for current management details.  The biomass estimate and associated harvest specifications are both down from 2017, but still substantially above recent catches.

Monitored stocks: Jack mackerel & northern anchovy

Jack mackerel and northern anchovy (both the central subpopulation and the northern subpopulation) are caught in relatively small amounts.  Harvest specifications were set when Amendment 13 was adopted, in 2011).

Jack mackerel126,000 mt31,000 mtEqual to ABC
Northern anchovy, northern subpopulation39,000 mt9,750 mtEqual to ABC1,500 mt
Northern anchovy, central subpopulation100,000 mt25,000 mtEqual to ABC
Market squidFmsy proxy resulting in Egg Esc ≥ 30%Fmsy proxy resulting in Egg Esc ≥ 30%Exempt

Market squid

In 2001, legislation transferred the authority for management of the market squid fishery to the California Fish and Game Commission (CFGC). Legislation required that the CFGC adopt a market squid fishery management plan (MSFMP) and regulations to protect and manage the resource. In August and December of 2004, the CFGC adopted the MSFMP, the environmental documentation, and the implementing regulations, which went into effect on March 28, 2005, just prior to the start of the 2005-2006 fishing season on April 1.

The goals of the MSFMP are to provide a framework that will be responsive to environmental and socioeconomic changes and to ensure long-term resource conservation and sustainability. The tools implemented to accomplish these goals include: (1) setting a seasonal catch limit of 107,048 mt (118,000 st) to prevent the fishery from over-expanding, (2) maintaining monitoring programs designed to evaluate the impact of the fishery on the resource, (3) continuing weekend closures that provide for periods of uninterrupted spawning, (4) continuing gear regulations regarding light shields and wattage used to attract squid, (5) establishing a restricted access program that includes provisions for initial entry into the fleet, permit types, permit fees, and permit transferability that produces a moderately productive and specialized fleet, and (6) creating a seabird closure restricting the use of attracting lights for commercial purposes in any waters of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Under this framework, the MSFMP provides the CFGC with specific guidelines for making management decisions.