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CNMI Tuna Troll Fishery

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 40
Target Species Various species, including tuna, mahimahi, ono, billfishes, etc.
Applicable Take Reduction Plans None
Observer Coverage Not observed
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured None documented

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

(1) Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification:  No mortality or serious injury of marine mammals has been documented in the fishery. Based on the similarity of this fishery to the Hawaii troll fishery, this fishery has a remote likelihood of marine mammal mortalities or serious injuries. 

Distribution: Fishing can occur in local nearshore or federal waters year-round, with trips lasting less than a day. The troll fleet consists primarily of vessels less than 24 ft in length, which typically cannot venture more 20 miles from Saipan, although larger vessels (>40 ft) engaged in multi-day bottomfish trips to offshore banks in federal waters and to the islands north of Saipan may also troll between bottomfish fishing grounds.

In 2012, the last year for which data is available, an estimated 35 commercial fishing vessels engaged in pelagic trolling, making 932 trolling trips that commercially landed pelagic species (WPFMC 2014). 

Gear Description: Fishing by towing or dragging line(s) with artificial lure(s) or dead or live bait, or green stick and danglers using a sail, surf or motor-powered vessel underway. Can include trolling with bait (dead or alive), trolling with artificial lure, or trolling with green stick.

Generally four to five but occasionally more than six individual lines rigged with artificial lures may be trolled when outrigger poles are used to keep gear from tangling. Lures are generally trolled at 7 – 8.5 knots. When using live bait, trollers move at slower speeds to permit the bait to swim naturally. Pelagic trollers generally fish at an average distance of 5 to 8 miles from shore, with maximum distance of about 30 miles from shore, with some exceptions. Trollers fish where water masses converge and where submarine cliffs, seamounts, and other underwater features dramatically change the bathymetry. Trollers often fish drifting logs, other flotsam, underneath bird aggregations, and near FADs.

Management: In federal waters, the fishery is managed in accordance with the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region and implementing regulations under 50 CFR 665.798 through 665.819. Federal regulations in 50 CFR 665.900 through 665.906 prohibit all commercial fishing around the three northernmost islands, Uracas, Maug, and Asuncion, which together comprise the Islands Unit of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. Non-commercial fishing for pelagic species is allowed within the Islands Unit subject to federal permit and logbook reporting requirements.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has not promulgated regulations specific to pelagic trolling, but prohibits or regulates certain fishing gear and regulates fishing in certain areas (e.g., marine protected areas), which may also apply to this fishery.


Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants 50
Basis for Original Classification Listed as Category III because the fishery was expected to have a remote likelihood of incidental serious injury or mortality of marine mammals. No observer, logbook, or stranding data were available.
Past Names None
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 88 to 40.
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 50 to 88.


Updated June 19, 2017