Frequently Asked Questions about the 2018 Southern Exclusion Zone Closure
Closure of the Southern Exclusion Zone to deep-set longline fishing on July 24, 2018, through December 31, 2018.
What is the Southern Exclusion Zone?
The Southern Exclusion Zone is a management area created by the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan. The area will be closed to deep-set longline fishing if the fishery reaches a certain level of observed false killer whale bycatch in a given year. Closure of the Southern Exclusion Zone is an important conservation measure to reduce further impacts to false killer whales.
Where is the Southern Exclusion Zone located?
The Southern Exclusion Zone is the portion of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Hawai‘i bounded by 165° 00′ W. longitude on the west, 154° 30′ W. longitude on the east, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Main Hawaiian Islands Longline Fishing Prohibited Area on the north, and the EEZ boundary on the south. The map below displays the area and its coordinate boundaries.
What is the Southern Exclusion Zone trigger?
Regulations specify that the Southern Exclusion Zone will be closed to deep-set longline fishing if, in a given year, the fishery has two observed false killer whale interactions in U.S. waters around Hawai‘i (i.e., Hawai‘i EEZ) that NOAA Fisheries scientists determine are deaths or resulted in “serious injuries.” A serious injury is an injury that will more likely than not lead to the animal’s death. The deep-set longline fishery has 20% observer coverage.
Why is the Southern Exclusion Zone being closed now?
NOAA Fisheries has determined that the Southern Exclusion Zone trigger for 2018 has been met, following four observed serious injuries to false killer whales in the deep-set fishery, one in February and three in June and July 2018.
When is the Southern Exclusion Zone in effect?
Deep-set longline fishing is prohibited within the Southern Exclusion Zone from July 24, 2018 through December 31, 2018. The area will be re-opened to deep-set longline fishing on January 1, 2019.
Is shallow-set longline fishing prohibited within the Southern Exclusion Zone?
No. The closure applies only to deep-set fishing.