WA/OR/CA Groundfish/Finfish Hook and Line 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||689|
|Target Species||Rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, greenling, sablefish, numerous finfish/groundfish species|
|Applicable Take Reduction Plans||None|
|Observer Coverage||Portions of this fishery are observed under the Nearshore Groundfish Fixed Gear fishery. Annual coverage from 2009-2018 for the entire Nearshore Groundfish fishery ranged from 4-8%.|
|Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured||California sea lion, U.S.|
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.
The groundfish/finfish hook and line fishery (other than bottom longline) targets close to a 100 different species that generally live on or near the bottom. There are over 60 different rockfish species; primary species captured in this fishery include black, vermilion, brown, and gopher rockfish. Other important targeted species include lingcod, cabezon, greenling, and sablefish. Numerous other finfish/groundfish are also landed.
Due to the variety of species, there is a significant variation in the areas and depths where target species are fished. Depths can range anywhere from 11-722 fathoms (20-1,300 m). The location of where fishermen are allowed to fish for these species groups can be limited by conservation areas (e.g. the Rockfish Conservation Area). The fishery operates year-round.
Hook and line gear includes several types of gear configurations. The following are the types of configurations used:
Troll: Includes one or more lines with lures or baited hooks attached that are drawn (“trolled”) through the water column at various depths, depending on species targeted.
Pole-and-Line: Rigid rods or poles with lines and baited hooks.
Vertical longline/dropline: A line is suspended vertically that is weighted on the bottom or anchored to the seafloor and attached to a buoy at the sea surface. Attached to the main vertical line are short lines at intervals, each culminating into baited hooks. All hooks present have to be below the upper one third of the vertical longline when in use.
Stick Gear: Stick gear consists of a 3-6 ft length of rebar or PVC pipe (or similar) with leaders attached at intervals along it to catch bottom or near-bottom species, especially for the live fish market. Each stick has several short 3-6 inch monofilament branch lines ending in baited hooks or artificial lures. The top end of the stick is connected to a braided line tied to a float which must be clearly marked with the vessel permit number and visible at all times. Up to 20 pieces of stick gear are allowed to be used by each vessel. In California, fishermen are limited to 150 hooks, with not more than 15 hooks per line when fishing for nearshore fish stocks within one mile of shore.
Any gear that is not attached to the vessel must be attached to buoys floating on the surface that are marked on the upper half with the commercial fishing license identification number at least 2 inches in height. In California, the commercial fishing license number followed by the letter “Z” should be on the float or buoy.
There are federal and state regulations which must be adhered to including various area and time closures (e.g., Rockfish Conservation Areas [RCA]). In some places, fishing is not allowed in certain districts over weekends and legal holidays. In California, troll lines and stick gear cannot be fished in waters less than 1 nm from shore. Landing limits for different species over various time periods also typically apply. Other management restrictions regarding the number and configuration of lines and hooks that are allowed in different areas may also apply.
|Original Category (Year added to the LOF)||III (2022)|
|Original Number of Participants||689|
|Basis for Original Classification||Listed as Category III based on the limited amount of documented mortality and serious injury of marine mammals based on the available data. Additionally, all other hook and line fisheries along the U.S. West Coast are classified as Category III fisheries, reflecting that hook and line fisheries generally appear to pose small risks of serious injuries or mortalities for marine mammal stocks on the U.S. West Coast.|
|Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list)||None|