What’s Happening with Pacific Sardine?

Pacific sardine
Pacific sardine

Last month, the National Marine Fisheries Service closed the large-volume commercial Pacific sardine fishery in state and federal waters off California, Oregon, and Washington until at least July 2016. This lucrative fishery brought in over $40 million to California only eight years ago. Pacific sardine biomass has decreased since then and is now too low to support large volume fishing, forcing fishery managers to close the fishery to protect the population. What happened to the Pacific sardine, and how are the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW’s) fishery managers helping to protect this small pelagic fish, which plays an integral role in the Pacific Ocean’s food web and in fishing communities coastwide? Continue reading “What’s Happening with Pacific Sardine?”

The Pacific Sardine Fishery: Then and Now

sardine illustration
CDFW illustration

The Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax caerulea) is a small pelagic fish found throughout the Pacific Ocean. In California, the Pacific sardine fishery has historically been one of the largest commercial fisheries in the state. The fishery began in the early 1900s, peaked in the late 1930s, and then declined rapidly in the 1940s during a well-known population downturn fueled by oceanic regime changes and fishing pressure. A moratorium was placed on the Pacific sardine fishery Continue reading “The Pacific Sardine Fishery: Then and Now”

A Bird’s Eye View: Aerial Surveys of Nearshore Waters Provide Important Information for Managing Coastal Pelagic Fishes

aerial view of sardine school
An unretouched aerial photo of a sardine school off Southern California

Since August 2012, CDFW’s Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Project and the California Wetfish Producers Association have been working together to develop a nearshore aerial survey program for southern California waters. The valuable data collected by the program may be used to set sustainable harvest limits and prevent overfishing of CPS, including Pacific sardine, Pacific mackerel, and northern anchovy. Continue reading “A Bird’s Eye View: Aerial Surveys of Nearshore Waters Provide Important Information for Managing Coastal Pelagic Fishes”