Pacific Whiting

Pacific whiting, or hake, is a prevalent fish species found off the West Coast of the United States and Canada. There are three stocks of Pacific whiting: a migratory coastal stock, ranging from southern Baja California to Queen Charlotte Sound; a central-south Puget Sound stock; and a Strait of Georgia stock. While the status of the latter stocks has declined considerably, the coastal stock remains large and is the most abundant commercial fish stock on the Pacific Coast.

Setting harvest levels of coastal Pacific whiting is accomplished through a bilateral agreement between the United States and Canada, known as the Pacific Whiting Treaty. Traditionally, domestic commercial fishermen harvested whiting with midwater trawl gear between May and September along northern California, Oregon, and Washington. The Makah Tribe also has an active fishery for whiting entirely within their usual and accustomed fishing grounds off the Olympic coast.

Pacific Whiting Treaty

On November 21, 2003, the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific whiting was signed. The agreement created a process through which the U.S. and Canadian scientists and fisheries managers recommend the total catch of Pacific whiting each year, with significant input from stakeholders of both countries. The agreement was implemented for the first time in 2012, and more information regarding background on the treaty, considerations for setting annual total catch levels, and meetings, can be found on the Pacific Whiting Treaty webpage.

Domestic Fishery Management

The domestic non-Tribal Pacific whiting fishery consists of catcher boats delivering to shorebased processing plants and to at-sea mothership processors and by large catcher-processor vessels. Catcher boats delivering to shorebased processing plants are participants in the shorebased trawl fleet. Catcher boats delivering to mothership processors and large catcher-processor vessels are collectively referred to as the "at-sea" whiting sectors and may participate in cooperatives under the trawl catch share program. 

Regulations

Shorebased IFQ Program

50 CFR 660.140

Mothership (MS) Coop Program

50 CFR 660.150

Catcher/processor (C/P) Coop Program

50 CFR 660.160