CA/OR/WA Dive Collection 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||186|
|Target Species||Sea urchin, sea cucumber, geoduck clam, other mollusks|
|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.
Dive collection fisheries, primarily for sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and other mollusks such as geoduck clams, occur in all three West Coast states.
In California, the commercial take for red sea urchin is mostly open year-round, but it is only open during certain days of the week depending on the time of the year and management zone. There are no seasonal restrictions on harvest of other sea urchin species. California sea cucumber may be collected year round; warty sea cucumbers are not allowed to be collected from March 1 to June 15. The commercial harvest of geoduck clams is not permitted in California.
In Oregon, most of the state is open year round for sea urchin harvest. However, the largest harvest area (Orford Reef) is open only from November through April. The sea cucumber fishery occurs in various areas along the coast, but harvest from Orford Reef is prohibited May 1 through October 31.
Harvest of geoducks in Washington occurs exclusively within the inland waters of the Salish Sea. The sea urchin fishery occurs October through February throughout the state, based mostly on gonad (roe or uni) condition and quality. There are numerous protected areas where sea urchin fishing is prohibited. See link to the map for a detailed view of the areas. Specific sea cucumber harvest districts exist in the state, each with clearly defined open seasons.
SCUBA gear or a “hookah rig” are allowed in all three states where dive gear is used for commercial harvesting. The "hookah rig" consists of an air compressor with supply hoses that distribute air to divers. Divers do use SCUBA for picking and scouting, but when a harvest area is identified the Hookah method is predominantly used. The States of California and Washington allow divers to use nitrox and scooters, although Oregon prohibits the use of mixed gas.
The sea urchin commercial dive fishery is a limited entry permit fishery in all three U.S. West Coast states. In Washington there are catch limits, but none in Oregon or California. There are size limits in Oregon, Washington, and California. In Oregon, there are depth restrictions where harvest can occur. The Washington sea urchin permits are distributed almost equally between state and tribal commercial fishermen.
The sea cucumber dive fishery is a limited entry fishery in California and Oregon, but is open access requiring a shellfish dive permit in Washington. In California, there are no landing or size limits. In California, sea cucumber trawl permits can be transferred and converted to a sea cucumber dive permit, but once converted to dive, cannot be converted back to a trawl permit. Sea cucumber dive permits must remain as dive permits when transferred. In Oregon, harvest of sea cucumbers is allowed under a sea urchin permit. In Washington, a quota system exists for sea cucumbers. If the quota for the season is reached, the fishery is closed. The quota for each year changes and is based on stock assessments for each district. Submissions of logbooks are required in all three states.
In order to obtain a commercial geoduck permit in Washington, a competitive bid process is used to sell harvest contracts to the highest responsible bidder. Successful bidders are required to obtain a WDFW fishery license prior to commercial harvest.
|Original Category (Year added to the LOF)||III (1996)|
|Original Number of Participants||637|
|Basis for Original Classification||Listed as Category III based on no observer, logbook, or stranding data available.|
CA sea urchin;
WA/OR sea urchin, other clam, octopus, oyster, sea cucumber, scallop, ghost shrimp, dive, hand/mechanical;
WA/ OR bait shrimp, clam hand, dive or mechanical collection;
OR/CA sea urchin, sea cucumber dive, hand/mechanical collection
|Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list)||None|
Timeline of Changes