Recreational Fisheries on the West Coast
Saltwater recreational fishermen on the West Coast target a wide variety of marine species.
Saltwater recreational fishermen on the West Coast target a wide variety of marine species. These include highly migratory species (albacore and other tunas, striped marlin, common thresher and shortfin mako sharks), salmon (Chinook and coho salmon), steelhead, halibut, groundfish (rockfish, lingcod, scorpionfish, greenling, flatfish, and sharks), and coastal pelagic species (Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, market squid, Pacific mackerel). They also include numerous state-managed species like barracuda, bass, bonito, sturgeon, and surfperches. Recreational fisherman also fish for invertebrates such as abalone, lobster, crab, clams, and oysters.
Recreational fisheries are economically, socially, and culturally important. In 2016, 1.2 million saltwater anglers on the West Coast spent roughly $1.8 billion on durable goods and took part in an estimated 5.2 million saltwater fishing trips, supporting approximately 25,000 jobs and $3.0 billion in sales.
On the West Coast, recreational fisheries primarily occur in non-federal waters (zero to three nautical miles off the coast) and are managed by the states of Washington, Oregon, and California.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries manage fisheries that occur within federal waters (three to 200 nautical miles off the coast). Management of these fisheries is separated into four fishery management plans: coastal pelagic species, groundfish species, highly migratory species, and salmon species. Inter-state coordination is also facilitated through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The West Coast Region’s Recreational Fisheries Coordinator, along with a Regional Team, works with anglers and fisheries managers on recreational fishing opportunities and stewardship throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California.
Permits and Licensing
- Pacific Highly Migratory Species: Permit required for commercial passenger fishing vessels (i.e., charter vessels) to fish for Highly Migratory Species within the U.S.Exclusive Economic Zone off California, Oregon, and Washington.
- State and Territorial Fishing Regulations: Permits and licenses are required for certain types of fishing within state and territorial waters.
West Coast Regional Recreational Fisheries Policy Engagement Plan
Meaningful engagement with the marine recreational fishing community is fundamental to successful recreational fisheries management. The West Coast 2019-2020 Recreational Fisheries Engagement Plan guides the Agency’s engagement with the recreational community along the West Coast by increasing our visibility, working towards understanding key concerns and priorities, and enhancing collaboration with saltwater recreational anglers.
The plan outlines activities that the West Coast Region, Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Southwest Fisheries Science Center intends to take over the next two years to support the following objectives:
- Establish a visible presence among the recreational fishing community.
- Develop a mutual understanding of priorities, concerns, and challenges.
- Enhance collaboration with the recreational fishing community.
This plan represents the latest step in NOAA Fisheries’ continuing commitment to strengthening our relationship with saltwater recreational fishermen.
We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about implementing the actions identified in the West Coast Engagement Plan. Please contact the West Coast Region’s recreational fisheries coordinator or member of the recreational fisheries team listed below.
Resources, Actions & Past Plans
- NOAA Fisheries' National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy
- NOAA Fisheries' Recreational Fishing Initiative
- 2016-2017 Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtables
Resources for fishermen
Recent News and Publications
- Recreational Fishing News & Announcements - West Coast
- West Coast Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtable Summaries 2020
- West Coast Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtable Summaries 2019
- West Coast-South Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtable Summary 2017
- West Coast-North Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtable Summary 2017
- West Coast Recreational Fisheries Engagement Plan 2019/2020
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Ethical Angling and Best Practices
- Catch and Release Best Practices
- Scaling Back Your Impact: Best Practices for Inland Fishing (PDF, 2 pages)
- Sea Bird Protection and Avoidance
- Are You An Ethical Angler?
- Ethical Angler Code
- Green Sturgeon Catch and Release
- Thresher Sharks
- Sustainable Fishing For Thresher Sharks Video
- Common Thresher Sharks Catch & Release 2010 Study
- Common Thresher Sharks Catch & Release 2014 Study
- Potential Deterrence of Pacific Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions
- Invasive Species
- Habitat Conservation on the West Coast
Management and Regulations
- Highly Migratory Species
- Coastal Pelagic Species and Live Bait
- Ocean Salmon
- Pacific Halibut
Research and Data
- Recreational Catch & Effort Statistics
- Fisheries Economics of the U.S.
- California Recreational Fisheries Survey
- On the Water Science: California Fisherman & NOAA Scientists
Stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in West Coast recreational fisheries. Sign up for NOAA Fisheries newsletters and notices by providing your email here. After clicking submit, you can sign up for notifications on specific topics like Recreational Fisheries by expanding the "Regional Updates" tab and navigating to "West Coast Updates" below.
West Coast Recreational Fisheries Coordinator and Team
A Recreational Fisheries Coordinator and Team coordinates recreational fisheries issues along the West Coast. With leadership from Kelly Ames, Sustainable Fisheries’ Division Manager, and Daniel Studt, West Coast Region Recreational Fisheries Coordinator, the team works with the agency's partners to enhance recreational fishing opportunity through improving recreational fisheries science and data, and facilitating research and implementation of recreational fishing stewardship — or "ethical angling" — practices.
Questions related to West Coast recreational fisheries can be directed to Daniel Studt, or your local representative from the West Coast Recreational Fisheries Team identified below.
- Daniel Studt — West Coast Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Recreational Fisheries Coordinator (Daniel.Studt@noaa.gov)
- Kelly Ames — West Coast Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Operations and Policy Branch Chief (Kelly.Ames@noaa.gov)
- Matthew Dunlap — Washington (Matthew.Dunlap@noaa.gov)
- Jeromy Jording — Washington/Oregon (Jeromy.Jording@noaa.gov)
- Lance Kruzic — Oregon (Lance.Kruzic@noaa.gov)
- Matt Goldsworthy — Northern California (Matt.Goldsworthy@noaa.gov)
- Charlotte Ambrose — Central California (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Joshua Fuller — Central California (Joshua.Fuller@noaa.gov)
- Jake Rennert — Central California (email@example.com)
- Charles Villafana — California groundfish (Charles.Villafana@noaa.gov)
- Leif Anderson — Northwest Fisheries Science Center (Leif.Anderson@noaa.gov)
- James Hilger — Southwest Fisheries Science Center (James.Hilger@noaa.gov)
- Melissa Monk — Southwest Fisheries Science Center (firstname.lastname@example.org)