New and Revised Closed Areas off Washington, Oregon, and California

Implementing Amendment 28 to the Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, Effective January 1, 2020

PUBLIC NOTICE NMFS-SEA-19-34

For More Information Contact:     Gretchen Hanshew (206) 526-6147               

NOAA Fisheries will publish a final rule tomorrow, November 19, 2019, implementing changes to area closures for commercial vessels fishing in Federal waters off Washington, Oregon, and California.

General Information

This final rule:

1.         Removes the groundfish bottom trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (trawl RCA) off of Oregon and California and replaces it with a tool called Block Area Closures (BACs);

2.         Changes the coastwide network of essential fish habitat conservation areas (EFHCAs);

3.         Establishes the Deep-water Ecosystem Conservation Area (DECA) closure (>3,500 meters).

You can view the Federal Register notice implementing these adjustments here. These adjustments are effective on January 1, 2020.

Information for Industry

The changes to re-open the trawl RCA applies to vessels fishing with groundfish bottom trawl gear in federal water off Oregon and California. The new and revised EFHCAs apply to vessel fishing groundfish or non-groundfish trawl gear in federal waters. The new DECA applies to vessel fishing in federal waters deeper than 3,500 meters with bottom-contacting gear, which includes bottom trawl gear, fixed gear, and pot-trap gear. We will share a compliance guide with a plain-language summary of all these changes before January 1, 2020.

For more information on closed areas, including closed areas that apply to non-groundfish fisheries using bottom contacting or bottom trawl gears, see our Closed Areas page here.

For the full trip limit tables see: Trawl North, Trawl South

Maps and Geo-Spatial Data

High resolution maps and other geo-spatial data are available for download on the Amendment 28 website here. High resolution maps of essential fish habitat (EFH)-related information, some of which is modified by Amendment 28, is also available on the EFH GIS Data and Maps website here.

Any discrepancies between this public notice and the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.

For more information contact: NMFS West Coast Region at 206-526-6140 or visit our new website athttps://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/west-coast-groundfish