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About

SAFE Title

Pacific Fishery Management Council

West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species Landings and Revenue Data

Photo: Pacific Fishery Management Council

Annual Highlights

Stats title

HMS Fisheries in 2023


Total Catch

4,333 mt

metric tons of catch

Exvessel Revenue

$ 18 million

estimated ex-vessel value

Vessels

341

vessels fishing

Dealers

179

dealers operating

Text

About SAFE

About Highly Migratory Species SAFE

Section 4.6 in the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP) describes the production of an annual stock assessment and fishery evaluation report, or SAFE. It provides the Council with a summary of information about the condition of HMS stocks and their marine ecosystems, and the social and economic condition of recreational and commercial fisheries and fishing communities. This HMS SAFE Portal, developed and maintained by the Pacific Fisheries Information Network, provides a point of public access to HMS fisheries landings, revenues and participation data. This Portal accompanies information found in the online SAFE on the Pacific Council’s website.

This Portal is organized in three tabs. In addition to this “About” landing page, there are the SAFE Highlights and Available Data tabs.

The Highlights tab provides fishery specific information, including a brief description of the fishery; catch, revenues, and participation trends; and average landings composition by species.

The Available Data tab provides access to 10 detailed data reports. These reports present landings, revenues, and participation data by species, fisheries, port, and time of year. Users may filter the data and download it for further processing and use.

Contact

Contact

For more information, or to provide comments or feedback, please email bstenberg@psmfc.org (PacFIN staff) or kit.dahl@noaa.gov (Pacific Council staff).

SAFE Highlights

Surface Hook and Line Albacore

Title

Surface Hook and Line Fishery for Albacore Tuna

Paragraph

This has been an economically valuable fishery for all three West Coast states for more than 100 years. Over time, the commercial harvest of albacore expanded north from the traditional fishing grounds off southern California. Troll and bait boat (live bait) are the principal commercial gears, although some albacore is incidentally caught by purse seine, longline, and large mesh drift gillnet. The fishing season varies from year to year, depending on oceanographic conditions, which strongly influence the occurrence of fish within range of the West Coast fleet, and economics. A typical season runs July through October, with landings peaking in August-September. This fishery lands albacore almost exclusively with little incidental catch.

In 2023 landings in this fishery totaled 3,161 metric tons worth $ 9.3 million compared to 8,794 metric tons worth $ 36.5 million in recent 10-year average.

Between 2012-2021, the top four West Coast ports for albacore landings have been Washington Coast, WA ( 57,320 metric tons, $ 231.9 million), Newport, OR ( 13,404 metric tons, $ 59.0 million), Coos Bay, OR ( 8,777 metric tons, $ 37.8 million), Astoria-Tillamook, OR ( 8,163 metric tons, $ 34.8 million).

All aggregates with fewer than three vessels or dealers are considered confidential and are removed from reporting.

Total Landings for Albacore

 

Total Inflation-Adjusted Ex-Vessel Revenue

 

Species Composition of Landings

 

Species Composition of Adjust Ex-vessel Revenue

 

Number of Vessels and Dealers

Large Mesh Drift Gillnet

Title

Large Mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery for Swordfish and Sharks

Paragraph

This gear consists of floating gillnet panels suspended vertically in the water column to catch pelagic species. It has a minimum stretched mesh size of 17 inches and a single set of the gear may not exceed 6,000 feet in length. The gear is set at night targeting thresher sharks and swordfish; however in recent decades thresher sharks have been a smaller part of catch. Although historically operating as far north as Oregon, fishing has generally occurred south of Monterey, mainly in the Southern California Bight, in the fall and winter since the early 2000s. The fishery originally developed in the 1980s, but participation and catch has precipitously declined since then. This decline is at least in part due to restrictions on the operation of the fishery to mitigate catch of marine mammals and sea turtles. Both Federal and California limited entry permits are required to participate.

In 2023 landings in this fishery totaled 75 metric tons worth $ 481,280 compared to 166 metric tons worth $ 946,780 in recent 10-year average.

All aggregates with fewer than three vessels or dealers are considered confidential and are removed from reporting.

Landings

 

Total Inflation-Adjusted Ex-Vessel Revenue

 

Species Composition of Landings

 

Species Composition of Inflation-Adjusted Ex-vessel Revenue

 

Number of Vessels and Dealers

Harpoon

Title

Harpoon fishery for swordfish

Paragraph

California’s harpoon fishery for swordfish developed in the early 1900s. While harpoon gear historically accounted for the majority of swordfish landings in California ports, participation has declined in the recent decades. In recent years, annual participation has ranged from 25 to 6 vessels. Fishing typically occurs in the Southern California Bight from May to December, peaking in August, depending on weather conditions and the availability of fish in coastal waters. Some vessel operators work in conjunction with a spotter airplane to increase the search area and to locate swordfish that are difficult to see from the vessel. This practice tends to increase the catch-per-unit-effort compared to vessels that do not use a spotter plane, but at higher operating cost.

In 2023 landings in this fishery totaled 36 metric tons worth $ 457,350 compared to 18 metric tons worth $ 2.4 million in recent 10-year average.

All aggregates with fewer than three vessels or dealers are considered confidential and are removed from reporting.

Total Landings

 

Total Inflation-Adjusted Ex-Vessel Revenue

 

Species Composition of Landings

 

Species Composition of Inflation-Adjusted Ex-vessel Revenue

 

Number of Vessels and Dealers

Coastal Purse Seine

Title

Coastal purse seine fishery for yellowfin, skipjack, and bluefin tunas

Paragraph

This fishery is composed of small coastal purse seine vessels operating in the Southern California Bight from May to October. These vessels generally target coastal pelagic species, such as Pacific mackerel, Pacific sardine, anchovy, and market squid. However, in the absence of these species (or once a quota has been reached), the fishery will target more tropically distributed yellowfin and skipjack tunas when intrusions of warm water from the south bring these species within range. Similarly, purse seine vessel operators will target temperate water bluefin tuna when they enter the coastal waters of the Southern California Bight if CPS are not available. In recent years, the availability of Pacific bluefin in Southern California has increased substantially and has comprised about 15% of landings.

In 2023 landings in this fishery totaled 163 metric tons worth $ 197,010 compared to 1,065 metric tons worth $ 1.4 million in recent 10-year average.

All aggregates with fewer than three vessels or dealers are considered confidential and are removed from reporting.

Total Landings

 

Total Inflation-Adjusted Ex-Vessel Revenue

 

Species Composition of Landings

 

Species Composition of Inflation-Adjust Ex-vessel Revenue

 

Number of Vessels and Dealers

High Seas Longline

Title

High seas longline fishery for swordfish and tuna

Paragraph

The HMS FMP, along with state regulations, prohibit pelagic longline fishing within the West Coast EEZ. Federal regulations also prohibit landings on the West Coast of billfish, such as striped marlin and shortbill spearfish.

Under the HMS FMP, permitting of shallow-set longline gear (which targets swordfish) is prohibited. However, permitting of deep-set longline vessels (which typically target tuna and opah) is allowed. Vessels possessing Hawaii limited access pelagic longline permits may fish outside of the West Coast EEZ with both shallow-set and deep-set longline gear and land into West Coast ports. These landings mainly occur in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego ports. The majority of pelagic longline vessels landing on the West Coast fish under Hawaii longline permits, and have home ports in areas outside of the West Coast. In recent years, an increased number of Hawaiian-permitted longline vessels have made San Diego their home port.

In recent years, pelagic longline landings have accounted for about two-thirds of total West Coast swordfish landings and a quarter of non-albacore tuna landings.

In 2023 landings in this fishery totaled 368 metric tons worth $ 2.6 million compared to 1,053 metric tons worth 6.6 million in recent 10-year average.

All aggregates with fewer than three vessels or dealers are considered confidential and are removed from reporting.

Total Landings

 

Total Inflation-Adjusted Ex-Vessel Revenue

 

Species Composition of Landings

 

Species Composition of Inflation-Adjusted Ex-vessel Revenue

 

Number of Vessels and Dealers

Available Data

How to use these reports

How to use these reports

Select a report to view from the available reports menu. Some reports provide a single view of tabular data, while others provide multiple views of tabular data and/or charts.

Use buttons and menus within each report to perform various actions:

Toggle between tabular data reports and charts

Select views of tabular data or charts

Display footnotes beneath the report

The right-hand side of the report displays report metadata and selected filters. Use the buttons at the top to perform the following actions:

  •      Filter results
  •      Download data
  •      View other reports available from PacFIN
  •      View report metadata