Groundfish Document Library: Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat Modification Process

The Pacific Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) are required to review EFH periodically, at least every five years.  This review includes all elements of EFH, including overall description and identification, habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs), closed areas, and other fishery management measures designed to minimize adverse impacts to EFH.

The Council established a three-phase process to conduct the periodic reviews.  Phase 1 consists of compiling newly available information related to the EFH elements contained in the groundfish FMP.  Phase 2 consists of determining whether the new information warrants consideration of changes to those EFH elements.  If the Council determines that the new information warrants revisiting the EFH elements, Phase 3 begins, which consists of developing options for updating EFH elements.  Council Operating Procedure 22 describes the process, including the opportunity for proposals to be submitted to the Council describing potential changes to EFH.

The Council, after the first two phases were completed, agreed that there is enough new information to warrant consideration of changes to the current groundfish EFH elements.  A project team of Council and NMFS staff developed a suite of alternatives, described in draft form in a November 2016 project team report.  During the EFH review process, the Council chose to include consideration of changes to the trawl rockfish conservation area (RCA), in the overall action.  Changes to EFH or the trawl RCA will be included in Amendment 28 to the groundfish FMP.

Please direct EFHRC inquiries to Mr. Kerry Griffin at 503-820-2280 ext. 409, or toll free 1-866-806-7204.