West Coast Highly Migratory Species: Supplemental Gears for Swordfish
Gear alternatives for catching swordfish are being explored through the use of Exempted Fishing Permits. Stakeholder workshops have also been held to discuss management and monitoring of the swordfish fishery.
Exempted Fishing Permits
NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region Highly Migratory Species Branch is working with various organizations, fishermen, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to explore gear alternatives for catching swordfish through the use of Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs). EFPs authorized by NOAA Fisheries allow participants to conduct commercial fishing activities that are otherwise prohibited by federal regulations.
Questions regarding the EFP application process can be emailed to:
NMFS West Coast Region
Exempted Fishing Permit Application Process
The Code of Federal Regulations outlines the necessary components of an EFP application, and the PFMC and its advisory bodies have provided additional guidance for EFP applicants. EFP applications can be submitted directly to NOAA Fisheries or to the PFMC for a preliminary review. The PFMC may recommend NOAA Fisheries consider an EFP application for issuance, as well as provide input on potential terms and conditions of the permit. NOAA Fisheries considers the PFMC’s recommendations for an EFP.
- Code of Federal Regulations: Submitting a complete EFP application
- PFMC solicitation letter of EFPs and Council Operating Procedures (COP 20)
- June 2014 HMSMT Report on the EFP Process and Criteria
- June 2014 HMSMT Supplemental Report on the EFP Process and Criteria
- PFMC considers EFP Criteria to advance Deep-Set Buoy Gear (DSBG) authorization
- June 2016 HMSMT Report on EFP Criteria to advance DSBG authorization
- June 2016 HMSAS Report on EFP Criteria to advance DSBG authorization
- September 2016 Decision summary, including DSBG Exempted Fishing Permit criteria for advancing gear authorization
- For guidance in drafting a Deep-Set Buoy Gear (DSBG) EFP application, see the PFMC DSBG Application Templates
Stakeholder Meetings and Council Decisions on Swordfish Management and Monitoring
Much of the impetus for exploring gear options for harvesting swordfish and other highly migratory species along the U.S. West Coast came from stakeholder workshops. Fishery managers, scientists, fishermen, and representatives of environmental organizations first came together in 2011 to share information and discuss perspectives on the long-term sustainability of the U.S. West Coast swordfish fishery. A second workshop was convened in 2015. Following, the PFMC developed a draft Swordfish Management and Monitoring Plan (last updated September 2018).
2011 U.S. West Coast Swordfish Workshop: Working Towards Sustainability
This workshop took place from May 10-11, 2011, in San Diego, California, and was coordinated through the Southwest Regional Office and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center of NOAA Fisheries. It brought together stakeholders to share information and discuss perspectives on the long- term sustainability of the U.S. West Coast Swordfish fisheries.
The workshop objectives were to establish through information sharing, the current state of knowledge on biological, ecological, and socioeconomic factors of Pacific swordfish fisheries, and achieve a common understanding among stakeholders of the current issues facing, and potential future of the U.S. West Coast swordfish fisheries.
Participation was by invitation only.
Steering Committee: Christina Fahy, Craig Heberer, Heidi Hermsmeyer, Jennifer Ise, Dr. Dale Squires, and Dr. Yonat Swimmer
Executive Committee: Dr. Kevin Chu, Mark Helvey, Kristin Koch, Gary Sakagawa, and Heidi Taylor
For background materials and workshop presentations, please contact Amber Rhodes, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division, Amber.Rhodes@noaa.gov.
2015 U.S. West Coast Swordfish Meeting
This meeting took place May 11-12, 2015, in La Jolla, California. It brought together stakeholders to share information and discuss perspectives on the long-term sustainability of the U.S. West Coast Swordfish fisheries.
Objective: Stakeholders will consider existing West Coast swordfish fisheries while exploring complementary strategies for optimizing fishing for highly migratory species. This conversation will take into consideration balancing sustainable fisheries with reducing bycatch and identify potential ways to reach this goal.
Key Outcomes Memo (revised September 1, 2015)
For background materials and workshop presentations, Amber Rhodes, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division, Amber.Rhodes@noaa.gov.