Changes to regulations pursuant to the FMP
|Year||Effective Date (Y/M/D)||Title||Citation|
|2020||20/03/09||Protected Species Hard Caps for the California/Oregon Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery||85 FR 7246|
|2018||18/06/06||Based on recommendations from the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), NMFS is issuing regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to implement Amendment 4 to the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP).||83 FR 19981|
|2018||18/04/13||California Drift Gillnet Fishery; Implementation of a Federal Limited Entry Drift Gillnet Permit||83 FR 11146|
|2015||15/08/05||Revision to Prohibited Species Regulations||80 FR 46519|
|2015||15/07/30||Recreational Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna||80 FR 44887|
|2014||14/N/A||Control Date for Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Limited Entry Program||79 FR 64161|
|2012||12/04/18||Swordfish Retention Limits||77 FR 15973|
|2011||11/10/13||Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures||76 FR 56327|
|2009||09/09/29||Collection of a permit fee for vessel owners participating in commercial and charter recreational fishing for highly migratory species (HMS) in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the West Coast of California, Oregon, and Washington.||74 FR 37177|
|2007||0711/14||Daily bag limits for sport-caught albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) and bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off California||72 FR 58258|
|2007||07/09/05||Amend vessel identification regulations of the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS)||72 FR 43563|
|2007||07/06/08||Amend text in the regulations governing closures of the drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area during El Nino events||72 FR 31756|
|2007||07/04/11||Revise the method for renewing and replacing permits issued under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS)||72 FR 10935|
|2004||04/05/07||Implement the approved portions of the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (FMP)||69 FR 18443|
Monitoring and enforcement
Status of HMS Permits
The reporting and recordkeeping requirements of the HMS FMP became effective February 10, 2005, and formalized the requirement for an HMS permit. Title 50, Section 660.707 of the Code of Federal Regulations outlines the required HMS permit with an endorsement for a specific gear for all U.S. commercial and recreational charter fishing vessels fishing for HMS within the U.S. EEZ off the States of California, Oregon, and Washington. The permit requirements also apply for U.S. commercial fishing vessels that land or transship HMS shoreward of the outer boundary of the U.S. EEZ off the States of California, Oregon, and Washington. The permit must be on board the vessel and available for inspection by an authorized officer. The following table shows the number of valid HMS permits by year.
HMS permits recorded in the permit database for each year since the regulation became effective on February 10, 2005. The permit data presented reflects valid permits and does not necessarily reflect total number of active vessels (i.e., vessels with catch and effort history in a given fishery year).
Notes: The permits are issued to the vessel owner(s) not to the vessels themselves. The totals indicate the number of valid permits in each year and cannot be added across years. The “Other” column includes non-west coast home ports/states and permits issued with no home port/state designated.
HMS fisheries data collection
Catch, effort, size composition, and landings data are critical for monitoring HMS fisheries and assessing the status of HMS stocks. The SWFSC monitors seven Pacific Ocean HMS fisheries. Logbook, observer, landing, and size composition data from these fisheries come from various sources, as shown in the table below.
|North Pacific Albacore Troll||F||P/S/I||D|
|Large Mesh Drift Gillnet||S||F||P||O|
|EPO Purse Seine||I||I||C/P||D|
|California HMS Sport||S||D (PBF)|
|Albacore Sport (OR/WA)||F|
Logbooks/Observer: F – federal; S – state; I – international
Landings monitored by: P – PacFIN; C – cannery; H – Hawaii
Size composition: O – observer; D – dock-side
All HMS permit holders, including HMS recreational charter vessels, are required to maintain logbooks. All information specified on the logbook forms must be recorded on the forms within 24 hours after the completion of each fishing day. The original logbook form for each fishing trip must be submitted to NMFS within 30 days of the end of each trip. Each form must be signed and dated by the fishing vessel operator.
The CDFW implemented a harpoon logbook and permit program in 1974. Logbooks are submitted to CDFW and forwarded to SWFSC for editing and keypunching.
The gillnet logbook program was implemented in 1980 by the CDFW. Logbooks are submitted to CDFW and forwarded to SWFSC for editing and keypunching.
Purse-seine vessels based on the west coast primarily target CPS but occasionally target HMS (albacorer bluefin tuna) when they are available and market conditions are favorable. Logbook data are required to be submitted to NMFS when these vessels target HMS.
Participants in the west-coast based longline fisheries submit logbook data to SWFSC. Logbook data are maintained at SWFSC and are combined with Hawaii longline data for international reporting. PacFIN data are not used in the estimation of total annual catch estimates for Pacific HMS pelagic longline fisheries.
CPFV vessel owners based in California submit logbook data to CDFW who in turn make the data available to SWFSC. SWFSC staff extracts and summarize the HMS component of the data for reporting purposes. CPFV fisheries in Washington and Oregon occasionally target albacore during the summer months when fish are close enough to shore. When targeting albacore, CPFV vessel owners complete a CPFV logbook and submit the data to SWFSC where the data are maintained and combined with summarized CPFV data from California.
Protected resources regulations
HMS FMP Endangered Species Act Consultations
Longline and drift gillnet vessels on rare occasions encounter endangered and threatened species of sea turtles and marine mammals while targeting HMS. HMS longline vessels also infrequently encounter a number of sea birds. Endangered and threatened marine species are protected through a number of Federal laws, including the ESA and the MMPA. The HMS FMP final rule (69 FR 18444) adopted measures to minimize interactions of HMS gears with protected species and to ensure that the HMS fisheries are operating consistent with Federal laws. These measures include time and area closures, gear requirements, and safe handling and release techniques for protected seabirds and sea turtles. Refer to 50 CFR 660.712, 713, and 720 and 50 CFR 229.31 and 223.206 for the complete list and text of the regulations.
Impacts of HMS FMP fisheries on species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (including marine mammals and sea turtles) have been analyzed in section 7 consultations and biological opinions (BOs), which are listed below. BOs include an Incidental Take Statement with anticipated mortalities and entanglements of ESA-listed marine mammals and sea turtles that are likely to interact with the drift gillnet vessels targeting HMS fish species.
The 2004 BO for the HMS FMP considered the impacts of the proposed shallow-set longline fishery and found that the fishery was likely to jeopardize the continued existence of threatened loggerhead sea turtles. As a result, the shallow-set longline HMS fishery was prohibited when the FMP was implemented.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service also conducted a section 7 consultation on the HMS FMP for the endangered short-tailed albatross and brown pelican. (The brown pelican has subsequently been de-listed.)
More information on the ESA and endangered and threatened species under NMFS’ jurisdiction may be found on NOAA Fisheries Endangered Species Conservation webpage.
Biological opinions for west coast HMS fisheries
|02/04/2004||Biological Opinion on Highly Migratory Species FMP (NMFS)|
|ND||Biological Opinion on Highly Migratory Species FMP (USFWS)|
|10/23/2006||Shallow-set Longline exempted fishing permit under the U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species Fisheries|
|07/29/08||Updated Shallow-set Longline exempted fishing permit under the FMP for West Coast Highly Migratory Species Fisheries|
|04/04/11||Authorization of (1) the deep-set tuna longline fishery managed under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species, and (2) continued operation of Highly Migratory Species fishery vessels in the deep-set tuna longline fishery under permits pursuant to the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act|
|05/02/13||Re-initiation of ESA Section 7 Consultation on the Effects of the U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species Drift Gillnet Fishery on ESA Listed Species|
|08/18/16||Continued operation of the west coast based deep-set longline fishery managed under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species Fisheries|
Sea turtles listed under the ESA
Takes of green, olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles are uncommon in the California drift gillnet fishery except under certain environmental conditions (e.g., El Niño or higher than usual sea surface temperatures) when turtles may move into the areas of drift gillnet fishing. Takes of leatherbacks are also rare, likely due to the time/area closure which has been in effect since the 2001 season and subsequent reductions in fishing effort. Since 2001, only two leatherbacks have been observed taken (released alive) in the drift gillnet fishery, one in 2009 and another in October 2012.
On April 6, 2016, NMFS and the USFWS published a final rule to list 11 DPSs of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) under the ESA (81 FR 20057). Green sea turtles found off the U.S. west coast comprise the East Pacific DPS, which is listed as threatened. NMFS is currently in the process of the consideration of designating critical habitat for green sea turtles in the marine environment off the U.S. west coast.
On January 29, 2012 NMFS published a final rule that designates areas off the U.S. west coast as critical habitat for endangered leatherback sea turtles (77 FR 4170). The final rule designates as critical habitat an area of approximately 41,914 square miles from Point Arguello to Point Arena, California, and from Cape Blanco in Oregon to Cape Flattery, Washington.
On September 22, 2011, NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule to list nine distinct population segments (DPSs) of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) pursuant to the ESA. After considering designation of critical habitat for the two DPSs that occur within the EEZ of the United States, the North Pacific DPS (listed as endangered) and the Northwest Atlantic DPS (listed as threatened), in 2014 NMFS published a final rule (79 FR 39855) concluding “No marine areas meeting the definition of critical habitat were identified within the jurisdiction of the United States for the North Pacific Ocean DPS, and therefore we are not designating critical habitat for that DPS.”
Marine Mammal Protection Act
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) establishes a general prohibition on the “take” of any marine mammal (note that the MMPA “take” definition is somewhat different from the ESA definition). An exemption may be granted if the activity meets certain standards pursuant to MMPA Section 101. For example, section 101(a)(5)(E) provides that NMFS shall allow, for a period of up to three years, the incidental taking of marine mammal species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by persons using vessels of the United States with valid fishing permits, if NMFS makes certain determinations. NMFS must first determine, after notice and opportunity for public comment, that: 1) the incidental mortality and serious injury from commercial fisheries will have a negligible impact on the affected species or stock; 2) a recovery plan has been developed or is being developed for such species or stock under the ESA; and 3) where required under section 118 of the MMPA, a monitoring program has been established, vessels engaged in such fisheries are registered in accordance with section 118 of the MMPA, and a take reduction plan has been developed or is being developed for such species or stock.
In order to make a negligible impact determination, NMFS must consider the total human-related mortality and serious injury to the affected stock of marine mammals. This includes the known or estimated takes from all human sources, such as commercial fisheries and ship strikes. There are five criteria that NMFS adopted in 1999 to make negligible impact determinations for MMPA 101(a)(5)(E) permits (64 FR 28800; May 27, 1999). Criterion 1 is the starting point for analysis. If Criterion 1 is not satisfied, NMFS may use one of the other criteria as appropriate.
- The threshold for initial determination will remain at 0.1 PBR. If total human-related serious injuries and mortalities are less than 0.1 PBR, all fisheries may be permitted.
- If total human-related serious injuries and mortalities are greater than PBR, and fisheries-related mortality is less than 0.1 PBR, individual fisheries may be permitted if management measures are being taken to address non-fisheries-related serious injuries and mortalities. When fisheries-related mortality and serious injury is less than 10 percent of the total, the appropriate management action is to address components that account for the major portion of the total.
- If total fisheries-related serious injuries and mortalities are greater than 0.1 PBR and less than PBR and the population is stable or increasing, fisheries may be permitted subject to individual review and certainty of data. Although the PBR level has been set up as a conservative standard that will allow recovery of a stock, there are reasons for individually reviewing fisheries if serious injuries and mortalities are above the threshold level. First, increases in permitted serious injuries and mortalities should be carefully considered. Second, as serious injuries and mortalities approach the PBR level, uncertainties in elements such as population size, reproductive rates, and fisheries-related mortalities become more important.
- If the population abundance of a stock is declining, the threshold level of 0.1 PBR will continue to be used. If a population is declining despite limitations on human-related serious injuries and mortalities below the PBR level, a more conservative criterion is warranted.
- If total fisheries-related serious injuries and mortalities are greater than PBR, permits may not be issued.
On January 10, 2017, NMFS issued a Federal Register notice proposing to issue a 3-year permit to authorize the incidental take of ESA-listed humpback whales and sperm whales by the California thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery) (82 FR 2955). Public comments must be received by February 9, 2017. Regulations implementing the Plan require fishermen participating in the California drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish and thresher shark to use pingers in a staggered configuration on their nets and a minimum length of buoy lines. The Pacific Offshore Take Reduction Plan and regulations (satisfying requirement 3, above) were finalized in 1997. The Pacific Offshore Take Reduction Team meets periodically to assess the effectiveness of the Plan and, if necessary, develop recommendations for reducing marine mammal incidental serious injury and mortality in the California drift gillnet fishery.
The MMPA mandates that each commercial fishery be classified by the level of mortality and serious injury of marine mammals occurring incidental to each fishery. The List of Fisheries classifies U.S. commercial fisheries into one of three categories according to the level of incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals. This classification is based on the rate, in numbers of animals per year, of incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals due to commercial fishing operations relative to a stock’s Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level, defined (50 CFR 229.2) as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortality, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population. The DGN fishery is currently categorized as a Category I fishery (annual mortality and serious injury of a stock in a given fishery is greater than or equal to 50 percent of the PBR level) due to interactions with sperm whales in 2010.
Marine mammals of concern for west coast HMS Fisheries
As discussed above, PBR is an important threshold for making the negligible impact determination. PBR is calculated as 0.5 times the maximum potential population growth rate (Rmax) times the minimum estimate of abundance (Nmin) times a recovery factor (Fr). Marine mammal stocks may be defined as “strategic” if human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, the species is listed under the ESA, the population is estimated to be declining, or the stock is designated as “depleted” under the MMPA. U.S. Pacific Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports show estimates of these parameters for marine mammal stocks for which the Council established bycatch performance metrics. In 2015 the Council identified these bycatch performance metrics for the California large mesh drift gillnet (DGN) fishery including take levels for selected marine mammals. At that time the Council recommended hard caps for sea turtles and selected marine mammals. In 2017 NMFS determined that the use of hard caps in this instance was unwarranted but the Council decided that take of these species should also be included as performance metrics.
On September 8, 2016, NMFS published a final rule to list (and reclassify the formerly globally listed entity) 14 DPSs of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) under the ESA (81 FR 62260). NMFS has identified three DPSs of humpback whales that are found off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. These are: the Hawaii DPS (found predominately off Washington and southern British Columbia), which is not listed under the ESA; the Mexico DPS (found all along the coast), which is listed as threatened under the ESA; and the Central America DPS (found all along the coast), which is listed as endangered under the ESA.
Regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) are responsible for the conservation and management of fisheries for tunas and other species taken by tuna-fishing vessels both outside and within areas of national jurisdiction. These organizations agree to measures, usually by consensus, which are implemented by member countries for their flag vessels. In the Pacific Ocean the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) establish measures within their respective Convention Areas, as illustrated in the figure below. Notice that there is an area of overlap between the two Convention areas in the South Pacific.
West Coast fisheries are more directly affected by IATTC measures since vessels mostly fish within that Convention Area. However, the WCPFC is especially active in managing northern stocks (those predominately occurring north of 20° North latitude). In the case of Pacific bluefin tuna and North Pacific albacore, tuna scientists recognize a single North Pacific stock occurring in both convention areas. Furthermore, under domestic law the Chair of the Pacific Council, or his or her designee, is allocated a spot as a Commissioner for the United States Section to the WCPFC. This provides a direct advisory role for the Pacific Council in policies and proposals that the U.S. may advocate in the WCPFC. The Council frequently provides advice to U.S. delegations to these RFMOs and Council staff attends their meetings.
IATTC and WCPFC outcomes
Resolutions adopted at the 94th meeting of the IATTC (July 22-26, 2019)
- C-19-01: Amends and replaces C-18-05 FADs
- C-19-02: Amends and replaces C-15-01 IUU Vessel list
- C-19-03: Financing FY 2020
- C-19-04: Amends and replaces C-07-03 Sea turtles y amends C-04-05 (rev. 3)
- C-19-05: Silky shark
- C-19-06: Whale sharks
- C-19-07: Management Strategy Evaluation workshops
- C-19-08: Amends and replaces C-11-08 Observers on longliners
Resolutions and Conservation measures adopted at the sixteenth regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (December 5-11, 2019)
- CMM 2019-01 Cooperating Non-Members
- CMM 2019-02 Pacific Bluefin
- CMM 2019-03 North Pacific Albacore
- CMM 2019-04 Sharks
- CMM 2019-05 Mobulid Rays caught in association with fisheries in the WCPFC Convention Area
- CMM 2019-06 Compliance Monitoring Scheme
- CMM 2019-07 WCPFC IUU Vessel List
- CMM 2019-08 Charter Notification Scheme.
- Resolution 2019-01 Climate Change as it relates to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
Regulations for international HMS fisheries and related activities in the Pacific
|Year||Effective Date (Y/M/D)||Region||Title||Citation|
|2019||20/01/21||EPO||Procedures for the Active and Inactive Vessel Register||84 FR 70040|
|2019||19/10/09||WCPO||Closure of Purse Seine Fishery in the ELAPS in 2019||84 FR 52035|
|2019||19/07/31||WCPO||Fishing Restrictions in Purse Seine Fisheries||84 FR 37145|
|2019||19/05/08||EPO||2019 and 2020 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||84 FR 18409|
|2018||19/01/07||EPO||Fishing Restrictions for Fish Aggregating Devices in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||83 FR 62732|
|2018||18/09/18||WCPO||Closure of Purse Seine Fishery on the High Seas in 2018||83 FR 45849|
|2018||18/07/18||WCPO||Fishing Limits in Purse Seine and Longline Fisheries, Restrictions on the Use of Fish Aggregating Devices in Purse Seine Fisheries, and Transshipment Prohibitions||83 FR 33851|
|2018||19/01/01||EPO||Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for 2018 to 2020||83 FR 15503|
|2018||18/04/27||EPO||Revised 2018 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; 2018 Catch Limit||83 FR 13203|
|2017||18/01/01||EPO||Restrictions on Fishing for Sharks in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||82 FR 56177|
|2017||17/09/29||EPO||Revised 2017 Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||82 FR 45514|
|2017||17/09/08||EPO||2017 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||82 FR 41562|
|2017||17/08/27||EPO||2017 Commercial Pacific Bluefin Tuna Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||82 FR 40720|
|2017||17/05/22||EPO||2017 and 2018 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||82 FR 18704|
|2017||17/05/11||EPO||Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||82 FR 17382|
|2016||17/01/01||EPO||Silky Shark Fishing Restrictions and Fish Aggregating Device Data Collection and Identification||81 FR 86966|
|2016||16/08/01||EPO||Fishing Restrictions Regarding Mobulid Rays||81 FR 50401|
|2016||16/07/25||EPO||2016 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocea||81 FR 46614|
|2016||16/07/15||WCPO||2016 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure||81 FR 45982|
|2016||16/07/25||WCPO||Purse Seine Observer Requirements, and Fishing Restrictions and Limits in Purse Seine and Longline Fisheries for 2016-2017||81 FR 41239|
|2016||16/06/16||EPO||Response to Petition for Rulemaking||81 FR 39213|
|2016||16/06/06||EPO||Amend Regulations Implementing Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Resolution C-02-03||81 FR 36183|
|2016||16/05/25||WCPO||Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2016||81 FR 33147|
|2016||16/05/26||EPO/WCPO||Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission||81 FR 24501|
|2016||16/02/14||EPO||2016 Commercial Pacific Bluefin Tuna Catch Limit in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||81 FR 2110|
|2016||16/02/13||EPO||Vessel Register Required Information, International Maritime Organization Numbering Scheme||81 FR 1878|
|2105||16/01/14||High Seas Fishing Compliance Act; Permitting and Monitoring of U.S. High Seas Fishing Vessels||80 FR 62488|
|2105||16/01/01||EPO||Establishment of Tuna Vessel Monitoring System in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||80 FR 60533|
|2105||15/11/30||WCPO||Fishing Effort and Catch Limits and Other Restrictions and Requirements||80 FR 59037|
|2105||15/08/25||WCPO||Purse Seine Fishing Restrictions During Closure Periods||80 FR 51478|
|2105||15/08/25||WCPO||Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2015||80 FR 51476|
|2105||15/08/12||EPO||2015 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||80 FR 46515|
|2105||15/07/23||WCPO||Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits in Longline Fisheries for 2015||80 FR 43634|
|2105||15/07/09||EPO||2015 and 2016 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean||80 FR 38986|
|2105||15/06/15||WCPO||Closure of Purse Seine Fishery in the ELAPS in 2015||80 FR 32313|
|2105||15/05/21||WCPO||Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2015||80 FR 29220|
|2105||15/03/23||WCPO||Fishing Restrictions Regarding the Oceanic Whitetip Shark, the Whale Shark, and the Silky Shark||80 FR 8807|