West Coast Harpoon

The harpoon fishery targets swordfish basking in surface waters. These fish are mainly encountered within the Southern California Bight from May through December, with the peak season occurring between July and September. From the 1900s to 1980s harpoon gear was the primary gear for harvesting swordfish, but in the early 1980s many fishermen switched to large mesh drift gillnet. Spotter planes are sometimes used to assist harpoon fisherman in locating the basking swordfish. In 2012, fewer than 10 vessels landed approximately 5 metric tons of swordfish with a value for the fishery of about $60,000.

Harpoon gear includes a pole or stick that is propelled only by hand, and not by mechanical means. The gear consists of either a pointed dart or iron attached to the end of the line several hundred feet in length. The other end is attached to a floatation device