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CA Halibut/White Seabass/Other Set Gillnet (>3.5 in mesh)

Current Classification on 2017 LOF

Category II
Estimated Number of Participants 50
Target Species Halibut and white seabass
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage Observer coverage was discontinued in 1994 after area closures were implemented prohibiting gillnets within 3 nmi of the mainland and within 1 nmi of the Channel Islands.  Monterey Bay was observed in 1999-2000, showing that take of harbor porpoise (Monterey Bay stock) exceeded PBR, which lead CDFG to prohibit set gillnets within 60 fathoms along the central CA coast.  The estimated observer coverage from 1990- 2005, 2010 was: 5%, 10%, 13%, 15%, 8%, 0%, 0%, 0%, 0%, 4%, 2%, 0%, 0%, 0%, 0%, and 12.5% respectively.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured California sea lion, U.S.;
Harbor seal, CA;
Humpback whale, CA/OR/WA1;
Long-beaked common dolphin, CA;
Northern elephant seal, CA breeding;
Short-beaked common dolphin, CA/OR/WA;
Southern sea otter, CA

^ 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

The total mean annual mortality and serious injury of humpback whales (CA/OR/WA) in this fishery is greater than 1% and less than 50% of the stocks’ Potential Biological Removal (PBR) levels.   


Ranges from U.S./Mexico border north to Monterey Bay and is localized in more productive areas.  The central CA portion from Point Arguello to Point Reyes has been closed since September, 2002, following a ban on gillnets inshore of 60 fathoms (in response to fishery mortality exceeding PBR for the Monterey Bay harbor porpoise stock).  Effort occurs year round, while it generally increases during summer months and declines during last 3 months of the year. 

Gear Description

200 fathom gillnet with stretch mesh size of 8.5 in (21.6 cm) for angel shark and halibut. Net soak duration is typically 8-10, 19-24, or 44-49 hours.  Depth of water ranges from 15-50 (27.4-91.4 m) fathoms with most sets from 15-35 (27.4-64 m) fathoms.  No more than 1,500 fathoms (2,743 m) of gill or trammel net may be fished in combination for California halibut and angel shark. 


The fishery is limited entry with gear restrictions and area closures, which managed by the CA Department of Fish and Game (CDFG).   As of 2002, CDFG prohibits gillnet fishing in ocean waters that are 60 fathoms or less from Point Reyes to Point Arguello.  Since 1990, set gill nets have been prohibited in state waters south of Point Arguello and within 70 fathoms or one mile, whichever is less, around the Channel Islands.

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants 80
Basis for Original Classification Observer data from 1991-1993 indicated that the estimated annual mortality and serious injury of the harbor porpoise (Monterey Bay stock) as 31 animals, or 91% of PBR (PBR=34)
Past Names CA angel shark/halibut and other species set gillnet (>3.5in mesh) fishery (until 2009); CA angel shark/halibut and other species large mesh (>3.5in mesh) set gillnet fishery (until 2003)
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) Harbor porpoise, central CA


Timeline of Changes

  • Added humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock) to the list of species/stocks killed/injured.  One humpback whale was seriously injured in this fishery in 2007, resulting in an annual mortality and serious injury rate of 0.2 animals/year, or 1.7% of the stock’s PBR of 11.3.  Therefore, a superscript “¹” was also added after humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock), indicating that this stock is driving the Category II classification of the fishery.   Observer coverage in this fishery was approximately 1% in 2006 and 17% in 2007.  There was no observer coverage in 2004, 2005, or 2008.  
  • Removed the superscript “¹” after CA sea lions (U.S. stock) and harbor seals (CA stock) in the list of species/stocks killed/injured.  There have been observed interactions with these stocks in this fishery in recent years; however, the average total fishery mortality and serious injury is less than 10 percent of the respective PBR for both stocks. 
  • Estimated number of participants reduced from 58 to 50.
  • Renamed the "CA Halibut/White Seabass and Other Species Set Gillnet Fishery (>3.5 in. mesh)" to more accurately reflect the target species of the fishery.
  • Reclassified from Category I to Category II.  This fishery was classified as Category I due to serious injury and mortality to the Monterey Bay and Morro Bay stocks of central CA harbor porpoises.  A ban on set gillnetting in central CA was implemented in 2002. As a result, effort in this fishery shifted its concentration to southern CA, south of the range of these harbor porpoise stocks. The elimination of this fishery from the stocks’ range removed the threat of mortality and serious injury to the stocks. Because interactions ceased as of 2002, no tier analysis was conducted for the level of annual mortality and serious injury of these stocks in this fishery for this proposed reclassification. The mean annual mortality and serious injury of CA sea lions in this fishery is 1,138, or 13 percent of PBR (PBR=8,511); the mean annual mortality and serious injury of harbor seals (CA stock) is 386, which is 20 percent of PBR (PBR=1,896)
  • Removed harbor porpoise (central CA) from the list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery, for reasons described in the bullet above.
  • Added the superscript “1” following CA sea lions (U.S.) and harbor seals (CA stock), indicating that takes of these stocks are driving the classification of the fishery.
  • Added a superscript “1” to harbor porpoise (Central CA).
  • Renamed the "CA Angel Shark/Halibut and Other Species Set Gillnet Fishery (>3.5 in. mesh)", to remove the reference to "large mesh" because 50 CFR Part 229.2 states that a large mesh gillnet has a mesh size of 7 to 18 inches.
  • Added harbor seal (CA stock) back to the list to correct a typographical error in the 2001 LOF.
  • Southern sea otter added.

  • Estimated number of participants updated from 80 to 58.


Updated January 15, 2017