CA Halibut, White Seabass, Yellowtail Hook and Line/Handline Fishery - MMPA List of Fisheries
U.S. fisheries are classified under the Marine Mammal Protection Act according to the level of incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals.
Current Classification on the List of Fisheries
|Estimated Number of Participants||388|
|Target Species||California halibut, white seabass, yellowtail|
|Applicable Take Reduction Plans||None|
|Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured||None documented|
Basis for Current Classification
Classified as a Category III fishery based on the lack of documented mortality or serious injuries of marine mammals based on the available data.
Fishermen target California halibut, white seabass, and yellowtail in this fishery, although a mix of other species may also be taken simultaneously. These other species include state-managed species, federally-managed groundfish species, and pelagic species. Retention of other species depends on a variety of factors including legality and marketability. The fishery primarily operates from small skiffs with vessel operators often fishing solo or with one deckhand. Effort generally takes place over soft bottom habitat in less than 55 fathoms (100 m) of water, and within state waters (3 nm of the shoreline). The fishery is active all along the coast of California, although much of the effort for yellowtail occurs in the Southern California Bight, white seabass effort generally occurs south of Bodega Bay, and halibut are only periodically targeted in Humboldt Bay.
Typically, multiple rods equipped with reels are used and each is set in a rod holder on the vessel. Generally, hook-and-line fishermen will drift or troll with live or frozen bait (such as anchovy, squid, sardine, or herring), or use artificial lures. Trolling is a fishing method defined by a vessel that is underway and making way. Drifting is when the vessel is largely carried by water movement. The number of lines and number of hooks used per line vary along with gear configuration. Hooks are kept near the bottom, at various depths in the water column, or at the surface depending on the species target or chosen method. Less commonly, handlines and set lines/longlines may be used by this fishery.
Hook and line gear can be broadly categorized as:
Rod-and-reel: Includes a rigid rod equipped with a reel and line with one or more lures or baited hooks.
Handline: Includes line and hooks used without a rigid rod.
Longline: Any line used to take fish that is anchored to the bottom and is not free to drift with the tide or current is a set line. There are two types of longline gear that may be used in this fishery. The first one being a bottom longline with a main line extending horizontally along the seafloor with short lines attached to it at intervals, each culminating into a baited hook. This gear is marked at both ends with a buoy at the surface. The second type is called a vertical longline with a line that is weighted on the bottom end that is anchored to the seafloor, attached to a buoy (or buoys) on the top end at the sea surface that suspends the line vertically. Attached to the main vertical line are short lines at intervals, each culminating into baited hooks. Any gear that is not attached to the vessel must be attached to buoys floating on the surface and marked on the upper half with a commercial fishing license identification number at least 2 inches in height.
This is an open access commercial fishery requiring no specific permits; however, a State of California commercial fishing license is required to participate. If a vessel is used, a State commercial boat registration is also required. Additionally, a Commercial Ocean Enhancement Stamp is required for any commercial fishermen who takes, possesses, or lands white seabass south of Point Arguello.
Other regulations such as minimum size limits and seasons, are applicable depending on the species. The minimum size limit for halibut is 22 inches total length, and white seabass and yellowtail must be 28 inches total length. Halibut and yellowtail may be landed year-round; the white seabass hook and line fishery is closed south of Point Conception from March 15 to June 15. If other species are retained while participating in this fishery, other federal and state regulations may apply.
Only a certain number of lines and hooks per line, and different types of hook and line gear configurations, are allowed in certain areas. This map shows a clear representation of the permissible gear allowed in certain districts for halibut.
Generally, nearshore areas and bays/estuaries have stricter limits on gear allowances compared with areas further offshore. Troll and hand lines are limited to 900 ft. or less; only longlines can exceed this limit. All hooks present have to be below the upper one third of any vertical longline or stick gear used. There are exemptions within certain districts to the number hooks that may be used in conjunction with certain gear types if the target species consists of at least 80 percent of the total catch.
|Original Category (Year added to the LOF)||III (1996)|
|Original Number of Participants||1354|
|Basis for Original Classification||Listed as Category III because the fishery was expected to have a remote likelihood of incidental serious injury or mortality of marine mammals. No observer, logbook, or stranding data were available.|
AK North Pacific halibut, AK bottom fish, WA/OR/CA albacore, groundfish, bottom fish, CA halibut non-salmonid troll fishery
CA halibut hook and line/handline fishery; CA White seabass hook and line/handline fishery
|Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list)||None|
Timeline of Changes