Pacific Herring Fishery Management Plan Development Under Way

CDFW-InsigniaPacific Herring supports a historically and culturally important fishery in California, particularly in San Francisco Bay. It’s also a critically important forage species for a wide suite of predators, including seabirds, marine mammals, and commercially and recreationally important fisheries. Management of the fishery has been precautionary in recent years with a high level of collaboration between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the fishing industry and the conservation community. There is, however, a need to update the existing management structure to one that is more efficient, and conforms more closely to the requirements of the Marine Life Management Act. To achieve this, CDFW has partnered with commercial fishery representatives and members of the conservation community, forming the Pacific Herring Steering Committee, to develop a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Pacific Herring in California.

The goal of the FMP will be to formalize a strategy for Pacific Herring management that will respond to environmental and socioeconomic changes, using a decision-making process that preserves the sustainability of the fishery while considering the entire ecosystem. The Marine Life Management Act requires that management changes be based on both the best available science and stakeholder input. The Pacific Herring Steering Committee has identified a number of management objectives to be addressed in the FMP, including:

  • Modernize the limited entry permit system for the commercial herring fishery.
  • Streamline and update existing herring regulations where possible.
  • Develop a Harvest Control Rule for the San Francisco Bay fishery that provides for a sustainable fishery and includes ecosystem considerations, while managing risk with precaution.
  • Develop regulations for the recreational Pacific Herring fishery.
  • Describe habitat considerations, including requirements, stressors, and protection measures.
  • Develop collaborative research opportunities to monitor and assess Pacific Herring populations in Tomales Bay, Humboldt Bay and Crescent City Harbor.

CDFW is inviting stakeholders and interested individuals to participate in the public scoping process as a means of informing the development of the FMP. This notice serves as an opportunity to be included on the electronic mailing list for future public meeting events and FMP updates. If you wish to provide input on the scope of the proposed FMP or to be notified of future opportunities for involvement, please submit your comments by September 30, 2016 via email or regular mail to the addresses below.

  • Email: HerringFMP@wildlife.ca.gov
  • Mail:
    California Department of Fish and Wildlife
    Attn: Ryan Bartling
    5355 Skylane Blvd., Suite B
    Santa Rosa CA 95403-1045


post by Ryan Bartling, CDFW Environmental Scientist