Management Measures

Highly migratory species move throughout large areas of the Pacific and are fished by many nations and gear types. Therefore, fisheries management by the United States alone is not enough to ensure that harvests are sustainable in the long term. The U.S. is a Member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which is responsible for the conservation and management of fisheries for tuna and other species taken by tuna-fishing vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The U.S. is also a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), which plays a parallel role in the western and central Pacific Ocean. The United States is obligated to implement decisions of these tuna Commissions, and does so under the Tuna Conventions Act and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. To ensure that harvests of highly migratory species are sustainable Pacific-wide, the United States is dependent on other Member and Cooperating Non-Member nations of the tuna Commissions to adhere to their obligations to implement Commission decisions.

Actions under the Tuna Conventions Act

The regulations implemented under the Tuna Conventions Act, in accordance with resolutions of the IATTC, apply to U.S. fishing vessels targeting or pursuing highly migratory species within the IATTC Convention Area. The recent rules and regulations are listed below, however the current and official list of international fisheries regulations are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR part 300.

Proposed Rules Federal Register Date Published Comment Period
Proposed Rule; International Fisheries: Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Silky Shark Fishing Restrictions and Fish Aggregating Device Data Collection and Identification 81 FR 70080 October 11, 2016 Closes November 10, 2016
Proposed Rule; International Fisheries; Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Fishing Restrictions Regarding Mobulid Rays
(Supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Final Regulatory Impact Review
81 FR 23669 April 22, 2016 Closed
Proposed Rule: International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
(supporting analyses included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Regulatory Impact Review
80 FR 80741 Dec. 28, 2015 Closed
Proposed Rule (supplemental): International Fisheries; Establishment of Tuna Vessel Monitoring System in the Eastern Pacific Ocean 80 FR 28572 May 19, 2015 Closed
Proposed Rule: International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2015 and 2016 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean 80 FR 12375 March 9, 2015 Closed
Proposed Rule: Measures for the Conservation of Whale Sharks in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (see Final Rule, below) 78 FR 32903 June 9, 2014 Closed
Proposed Rule: Establishment of Tuna Vessel Monitoring System in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses included in the docket are listed below)
♦Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act
♦Initial Regulatory Impact Review
79 FR 7152 Feb. 6, 2014 Closed
Proposed Rule: Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Initial Regulatory Impact Review
79 FR 6876 Feb. 5, 2014 Closed
Proposed  Rule: Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses included in the docket listed below)
♦ Draft Environmental Assessment
♦ Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act
♦ Initial Regulatory Impact Review
78 FR 1810 Jan. 10, 2014 Closed
Notices & Final Rules* Federal Register Date Published Date Effective
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2016 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Reopening in the Eastern Pacific Ocean 81 FR 69717 October 7, 2016 October 4, 2016
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries: 2016 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Closure 81 FR 46614 July 18, 2016 July 25, 2016
Final Rule: International Fisheries; Eastern Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Amend Regulations Implementing Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Resolution C-02-03 81 FR 36183 June 6, 2016 June 6, 2016
Final Rule: International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission 81 FR 24501 April 26, 2016 May 26, 2016
Announcement of 2016 Commercial Pacific Bluefin Tuna Catch Limit 81 FR 2110 January 15, 2016 February 14, 2016
Final Rule: International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Vessel Register Required Information, International Maritime Organization Numbering Scheme 81 FR 1878 January 14, 2016 February 13, 2016
Final Rule: International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Establishment of Tuna Vessel Monitoring System in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(Supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Small Entity Compliance Guide
♦ Final Regulatory Flexibility Act
♦ Final Regulatory Impact Review
80 FR 60533 October 7, 2015 January 1, 2016
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2015 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Closure 80 FR 46515 August 5, 2015 August 12, 2015
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2015 Commercial Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Commercial Retention Limit 80 FR 38986 July 8, 2015 July 9, 2015
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2014 Commercial Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Commercial Retention Limit 79 FR 68133 Nov. 14, 2014 Nov. 13, 2014
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries: 2014 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Closure 79 FR 63562 Oct. 24, 2014 Oct. 31, 2014
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Whale Shark Conservation Measures 79 FR 56017 Sept. 18, 2014 Oct. 20, 2014
Temporary Rule: Fishery Closure of 2014 Commercial Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean 79 FR 53631 Sept. 10, 2014 Sept. 5, 2014
Final Rule: Measures for the Conservation and Management of Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(Supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Environmental Assessment
♦ Finding of No Significant Impact Statement
♦ Regulatory Impact Review
♦ Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
♦ Small Entity Compliance Guide
79 FR 28452 May 16, 2014 June 16, 2014
Notice of Public Meeting: General Advisory Committee and Scientific Advisory Subcommittee to the U.S. Section to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission 79 FR 24675 May 1, 2014  
Final Rule: Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Regulatory Impact Review
♦ Frequently Asked Questions
79 FR 19487 April 9, 2014 May 9, 2014
Final Rule: Tuna Conservation (2011-2013), Prohibiting Fishing on Data Buoys and Prohibiting Retention of Oceanic Shark 76 FR 68332 Nov. 4, 2011 Dec. 5, 2011

*The regulations implemented under the  Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation, in accordance with Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Resolutions, apply to U.S. fishing vessels targeting or pursuing highly migratory species within the WCPFC Convention Area.

Actions under the Magnuson-Stevens Act

Regulations under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species apply to U.S. fishing vessels targeting or pursuing highly migratory species within the West Coast exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of California, Oregon, and Washington or the adjacent high seas (seaward of the EEZ) and land their fish in California, Oregon, or Washington. Additional restrictions apply under the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act and for Hawaii-based longline permitted vessels landing into West Coast ports. The fishery management plan does not apply to U.S. vessels that fish for highly migratory species on the high seas and land into a non-U.S. port.

There have been five regulatory amendments to the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species. Because fishery rules frequently change, fishermen must familiarize themselves with the latest regulations and are responsible for complying with the current official regulations set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR part 660. Fishermen should also check with state authorities before engaging in fishing activities within state waters.

Proposed Rules, Temporary Rules, and Analytical documents Federal Register Date Published Comment Period
Proposed Rule: Protected Species Hard Caps for the California/Oregon Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery

Extension of Comment Period; Protected Species Hard Caps for the California/Oregon Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery
81 FR 70660


81 FR 84546
October 13, 2016

November 23, 2016
Extended;  comment period closes December 28, 2016
Draft Environmental Assessment for Consideration of an Exempted Fishing Permit to Fish with Longline Gear in the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone 81 FR 60675 September 2, 2016 Comments closed (October 3, 2016)
Proposed Rule: Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Management Amendment 1 81 FR 215 January 5, 2016 Comments closed (February 9, 2016)
Proposed Rule: Pacific Bluefin Tuna Recreational Bag Limits and Multiday Possession Limits; Tuna Fillet-at-Sea Requirements 80 FR 22156 April 21, 2015 Closed
Establishing a control date of June 23, 2014, for the large-mesh drift gillnet fishery 79 FR 64161 Oct. 28, 2014 Closed
Temporary Rule for Sperm Whale Interactions in Drift Gillnet Fishery (effective 180 Days) 78 FR 54548 Sept. 4, 2013 Closed
Notices & Final Rules Federal Register Date Published Date Effective
Notice of Determination: NMFS’ Response to the Center for Biological Diversity’s Petition for Rulemaking Regarding Pacific Bluefin Tuna  (see supporting material: NMFS’ Detailed Response) 81 FR 39213 June 16, 2016 June 9, 2016
Temporary Rule: Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area Closure in the West Coast Drift Gillnet 81 FR 35653 June 3, 2016 June 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016