Groundfish management takes place at both the federal level and state level.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) is the federal body responsible for managing from 3 to 200 miles offshore of Oregon, Washington and California. The federal groundfish fishery management plan covers 82 species of groundfish.
At the state level, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission establishes seasons, methods and bag limits for recreational and commercial fishing. The Commission can adopt rules that are more restrictive than federal rules but not less restrictive.
Pacific halibut is not managed with groundfish. See Pacific halibut management
The need to control sport fishery impacts on groundfish arises from one or more factors such as:
- decreasing fish populations
- escalating harvest
- uncertainty about the sustainability of a fishery
- the need to share a quota among user groups
Various resource management tools are used to control sport impacts on groundfish in Oregon: daily bag limits, size limits, conservation area closures, and annual quotas.
A stock assessment is a scientific evaluation of the status and well-being of a fish stock. Few fish stocks on the West Coast have been fully assessed, primarily because adequate information is available only for a limited number of the stocks.
Federal management of groundfish takes place on a two-year cycle. For example, sport fishing management measures (regulations) adopted in 2016 are effective from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2018. ODFW normally hosts a series of public meetings before federal regualtions are adopted.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopts annually the angling rules prescribing seasons, bag limits, methods of harvest and other restrictions.
A comprehensive review and development of Oregon's angling regulations takes place every four years. For example, a comprehensive review in 2012 affects angling regulations for 2013-2016. During this review, proposals for new or amended angling regulations were solicited from the public.