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NOAA Fisheries announces overfished determination for quillback rockfish off California

December 14, 2023

Quillback rockfish off California declared overfished

NOAA Fisheries has determined that quillback rockfish off California is overfished. This determination is based on the 2021 stock assessment of California quillback rockfish that was prioritized by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and conducted using the best scientific data available. The agency is notifying the Council of this status so the Council and NOAA Fisheries can develop a rebuilding plan to return the stock to a healthy population size. This is the first time in over 10 years that a Pacific Coast groundfish stock has been declared overfished.

Under the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA), when a stock is determined to be overfished, the Council, with NOAA Fisheries, is required to prepare and implement a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) amendment, also referred to as a rebuilding plan. The rebuilding plan guides the rebuilding of the stock to a healthy and sustainable level in as short a time as possible, and has proven to be an effective strategy to achieve long-term sustainable fisheries. According to the MSA the Council has 15 months to prepare and submit the rebuilding plan to NOAA Fisheries, who must ensure it can be implemented within 2 years of the determination of the overfished condition of the stock. The rebuilding plan may require a reduction in fishing, but the Council and NOAA Fisheries are considering ways to offset those reductions such as opening areas that are currently closed to fishing for certain low-impact gear types.

We will work closely with the fishing industry to reduce mortality of quillback rockfish and help collect information that will improve the management response and future stock assessments.


Visit our website to read some questions and answers.

If you have further questions, you may also contact Keeley Kent, Groundfish Branch Chief, at keeley.kent@noaa.gov or (206) 526-4655.