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Nearshore Species in Oregon - Strategy Species

rocky intertidal
Canary Rockfish
- Photo by Brandon Ford -

Strategy species are nearshore species that were identified by the Nearshore Team to be in greatest need of management attention. Identification as a strategy species does not necessarily mean the species is in trouble. Rather, those identified as a strategy species have some significant nearshore management/conservation issue connected to that species that is of interest to managers.

To keep a nearshore ecosystem focus, the team concentrated its attention harvested and non-harvested species that predominantly occur, or are common, within Oregon’s nearshore marine environment. The Marine Resources Program recognizes extensive linkages between estuarine and nearshore marine ecosystems and hopes to include estuaries in future planning efforts.

The Nearshore Team identified 53 nearshore species as strategy species. These species were determined to have conservation needs in greatest need of management attention and to have the greatest potential for benefit from management actions.

The table below presents the list of all 53 strategy species, including notes on conservation needs of each species. The notes document conservation factors that were determined by the Nearshore Team to be of the most interest to managers. Conservation needs are identified so managers may consider them when developing: management plans directly or indirectly affecting the species, research and monitoring projects or programs, education and outreach materials, partnerships, or other actions.

Conservation needs are based upon literature review and personal communication. Note that management jurisdiction varies for each species. For instance, some strategy species are managed by ODFW, others by NOAA Fisheries, and many species are under shared management authority by multiple resource agencies.

List of Strategy Species

Species

Notes on conservation needs*

References

Bony Fishes

 

 

Black rockfish
Sebastes melanops

Low to very low productivity. Long-term population declines in Puget Sound (WA). Sport and commercial harvest. Incidental catch. Collected for scientific research.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Black-and-yellow rockfish
Sebastes chrysomelas

Commercial harvest. Low productivity. Collected for public aquarium display. Southern OR is northern extent of range. Population status unknown.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

Blue rockfish
Sebastes mystinus

Low productivity. Sport and commercial harvest. Population status unknown.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

Bocaccio
Sebastes paucispinis

Very low productivity. Southern stock (CA) listed as overfished by Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Listed as “species of concern” by NOAA Fisheries Protected Resources for CA waters (and possibly west coast of North America) since 1990.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; Musick et al. 2000; NOAA 2004; PFMC 2005

Brown rockfish
Sebastes auriculatus

Sport and commercial harvest. Concerns for potential localized population depletion. Probable low to very low productivity. Long-term population declines in Puget Sound (WA). Population status unknown.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Cabezon
Scorpaenichthys marmoratus

Assessment with CA data only; PFMC precautionary approach for harvest allocation. Sport and commercial harvest. Incidental catch.

McCain 2003; Love 1996

Canary rockfish
Sebastes pinniger

Very low productivity. Very long lived. Listed as overfished by PFMC. Incidental catch. May be two separate subpopulations: one north, the other south, of central OR. Primarily juveniles in nearshore. Scientific research collection.

CDFG 2001; Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000; PFMC 2005

China rockfish
Sebastes nebulosus

Low productivity. Long lived. Very little known about early life history. Sport and commercial harvest. Collected for public aquarium display. Population status unknown.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

Copper rockfish
Sebastes caurinus

Low to very low productivity. Long-term population declines have occurred in Puget Sound (WA). Sport and commercial harvest.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; Musick et al. 2000; McCain 2003

Eulachon
Thaleichthys pacificus

Forage fish. Vulnerable freshwater spawning and nursery grounds. Columbia River population has declined. Other Distinct Population Segments (DPS) may have experienced similar declines.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; Musick et al. 2000; McCain 2003

Gopher rockfish
Sebastes carnatus

Low productivity. Sport and commercial harvest. Collected for public aquarium display. Southern OR is northern extent of range.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

Grass rockfish
Sebastes rastrelliger

Low productivity. Population status unknown. Sport and commercial harvest. Incidental catch. Central OR is northern extent of range. Potential for local depletion. Limited habitat.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

Green sturgeon
Acipenser medirostris

Low productivity. Specialized habitat requirements. Late maturity. Long life span. Northern (spawning populations in the Klamath and Rogue rivers) and southern (spawners in the Sacramento River) DPS listed as “species of concern” by NOAA Fisheries Protected Resources since 2001. Managed in conjunction with white sturgeon.

Musick et al. 2000; NOAA 2004

Kelp greenling
Hexagrammos decagrammus

OR population status in good condition; coast wide population status unknown. Sport and commercial harvest. Collected for public aquarium display.

McCain 2003

Lingcod
Ophiodon elongatus

Coastal stock listed as overfished by PFMC (northern portion of stock, which includes OR, is rebuilt). Sport and commercial harvest. Scientific research collection. Important predator.

McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Northern anchovy
Engraulis mordax

Forage fish. Commercial harvest and minor sport harvest. Distinct northern population from north of San Francisco to British Columbia. Stock status of northern subpopulation unknown.

Baraff and Loughlin 2000

Pacific herring
Clupea pallasii

Forage fish. Specialized spawning habitat requirements. Population(s) status unknown.

Baraff and Loughlin 2000; Musick et al. 2000

Pile perch
Rhacochilus vacca

Low productivity. Unknown habitats for some life history stages. Population status unknown. Sport harvest. Small commercial harvest in CA.

CDFG 2001

Quillback rockfish
Sebastes maliger

Very low productivity. Long-term population declines in Puget Sound (WA). Sport and commercial harvest. Population status unknown.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Redtail surfperch
Amphistichus rhodoterus

Low productivity. Unknown habitats for some life history stages. Population status unknown. Sport harvest. Minor commercial harvest along west coast.

Love 1996; CDFG 2001

Rock greenling
Hexagrammos lagocephalus

Very little life history information. Some sport and commercial harvest. Population status unknown.

Eschmeyer and Herald 1983

Shiner perch
Cymatogaster aggregata

Low productivity. Sport harvest. Collected for public aquarium display. Population status unknown. Unknown habitats for most life history stages.

Love 1996

Starry flounder
Platichthys stellatus

Sport and commercial harvest. Possible localized depletion concerns.

McCain 2003

Striped perch
Embiota lateralis

Low productivity. Sport and minor commercial harvest. Population status unknown. Unknown habitats for most life history stages.

Love 1996; CDFG 2001

Surf smelt
Hypomesus pretiosus

Forage fish. Individual populations have small ranges. Specialized habitat requirements. Commercial fishery in WA and CA. Population status unknown.

CDFG 2001

Tiger rockfish
Sebastes nigrocinctus

Commercial harvest. Probable low to very low productivity. Very long lived. Long-term population declines have occurred in Puget Sound (WA). Significant research needs regarding life history. Population status unknown.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Topsmelt
Atherinops affinis

Forage fish. Migratory behavior unknown. Collected for public aquarium display. Population status unknown. Seven subspecies exist, demonstrating varied behavior and reflecting different environments occupied.

CDFG 2001

Vermilion rockfish
Sebastes miniatus

Low productivity. Sport and commercial harvest. Unknown habitats for some life history stages.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

White sturgeon
Acipenser transmontanus

Very low productivity. Specialized habitat requirements. Inland population (Idaho and Montana) listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Managed in conjunction with green sturgeon.

Musick et al. 2000

Wolf-eel
Anarrhichthys ocellatus

Susceptible to incidental catch in pots and trawls. Developmental fishery in OR. Population status unknown.

Love 1996

Yelloweye rockfish
Sebastes ruberrimus

Listed as overfished by PFMC. Very low productivity. Very long lived. Collected for scientific research. Incidental catch.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Yellowtail rockfish
Sebastes flavidus

Sport and commercial harvest. Incidental catch. Collected for scientific research.

Love, Yoklavich, and Thorsteinson 2002; McCain 2003

Cartilaginous Fishes

 

 

Big skate
Raja binoculata

Low to very low productivity. Incidental catch. Research needs regarding population trends. Closely related species in Atlantic experienced stock collapses and local extirpations.

McCain 2003; Musick et al. 2000

Spiny dogfish
Squalus acanthias

Important predator. Low productivity. Long lived. Sport and commercial harvest. Collected for scientific/medical research. Population status unknown. Historic decline of west coast population in 1940s from targeted harvest. Stock assessment due in 2007.

Love 1996; Musick 1999

Invertebrates

 

 

California mussel
Mytilus californianus

Tribal, recreational and commercial harvest. Susceptible to trampling/wildlife disturbance. Collected for scientific/medical research. Important habitat-forming organism.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981

Dungeness crab
Cancer magister

Tribal, recreational and commercial harvest. Larvae important prey. No stock assessment. Regulated by size, sex, and season. Larvae sensitive to pollution. Fluctuations in ocean conditions create variability in abundance year to year.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981; Wolotira et al. 1989

Flat abalone
Haliotis walallensis

Little known regarding life history. Susceptible to winter storms, El Niño events, and sand inundation. Small commercial harvest. Population status unknown. Susceptible to poor water quality and pollution.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981; Wolotira et al. 1989

Giant octopus
Octopus dofleini

Concerns regarding unreported incidental catch (catch not recorded at species level). This species has been overfished in Japan in the past.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981; Wolotira et al. 1989

Ochre sea star
Pisaster ochraceus

Keystone species; important predator. Collected for scientific/medical research. Susceptible to wildlife disturbance.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981

Purple sea urchin
Strongylocentrotus purpuratus

Sport and commercial harvest. Susceptible to trampling/wildlife disturbance. Collected for aquarium trade. Collected for scientific/medical research.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981

Razor clam
Siliqua patula

Tribal, recreational and commercial harvest. Susceptible to disease and natural events such as El Niño.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981; Wolotira et al. 1989

Red abalone
Haliotis rufescens

Long lived. Specialized habitat requirements. Collected for aquarium trade. Sport harvest in OR and CA. OR is northern extent of range. Susceptible to winter storms, disease, El Niño events, and sand inundation. Susceptible to poor water quality and pollution.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981; Wolotira et al. 1989

Red sea urchin
Strongylocentrotus franciscanus

Possibly very long lived. Age at maturity unknown. Sport and commercial harvest. Collected for scientific/medical research.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981

Rock scallop
Hinnites giganteus

Late age at maturity. Longevity and fecundity unknown. Sport harvest and minor commercial. Population status unknown.

Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie 1981

Marine Mammals

 

 

California sea lion
Zalophus califonianus

Important predator. Low productivity. Populations increasing. Marine mammal-fisheries interaction management issues. Stock status relative to Optimum Sustainable Population (OSP) unknown.

Baraff and Loughlin 2000; Brown 1997; Carretta et al. 2002

Gray whale
Eschrichtius robustus

Low productivity. Habitat engineer. Special habitat needs. State listed as endangered species. Historic population decline throughout range due to harvest; current population in good standing. Distinct summer-resident population may be found in OR.

Carretta et al. 2002

Harbor porpoise
Phocoena phocoena

Significant research needs regarding life history and behavior. Important predator. Low productivity. Two separate stocks found in OR: 1) northern CA / southern OR stock determined to be within OSP; and 2) OR / WA coast stock status relative to OSP unknown.

Carretta et al. 2002

Northern elephant seal
Mirounga angustirostris

Historic population decline throughout range, current population status is good. Low productivity. May be within their OSP range.

Brown 1997; Carretta et al. 2002

Pacific harbor seal
Phoca vitulina

Important predator. Low productivity. OR and WA coast population increasing, may be nearing OSP.

Baraff and Loughlin 2000; Brown 1997; Carretta et al. 2002

Steller sea lion
Eumetopias jubatus

Important predator. Low productivity. Eastern stock (includes OR) listed as threatened under ESA; eastern AK, WA, and OR populations stable to increasing, central and southern CA populations declining. Stock status relative to OSP unknown.

Angliss and Lodge 2002; Baraff and Loughlin 2000; Brown 1997; Stone, Goebel, and Webster 1997

Algae and Plants

 

 

Bull kelp
Nereocystis luetkeana

Important habitat. Past commercial harvest in OR. Recreational harvest. Removal of some blades may inhibit growth of rest of kelp. Vulnerable to exposure of petroleum products.

O'Clair and Lindstrom 2000

Sea palm
Postelsia palmaeformis

Susceptible to overharvest (historic overharvest in CA, now protected). Special habitat requirements: restricted to rock exposed to heavy surf. Recreational and commercial harvest.

CDFG 2001; O'Clair and Lindstrom 2000

Surf grass
Phyllospadix spp.

Tribes harvest. Important habitat. Specialized oceanographic requirements. Vulnerable to oil spills.

O'Clair and Lindstrom 2000

* Acronyms and definitions:

AK Alaska
CA California
DPS Distinct Population Segments
ESA Endangered Species Act
OR Oregon
OSP Optimum Sustainable Population
PFMC Pacific Fishery Management Council
WA Washington

Incidental catch: Species caught when fishing for the primary purpose of catching a different species (PFMC 2004).

Optimum Sustainable Population (OSP): As defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act; with respect to any population stock, the number of animals which will result in the maximum productivity of the population or the species, keeping in mind the optimum carrying capacity of the habitat and the health of the ecosystem of which they form a constituent element (16 U.S.C. § 1362(9)).

NOAA Fisheries regulations have further defined OSP as "a population size which falls within a range from [the carrying capacity of the] ecosystem to the population level that results in maximum net productivity" (50 C.F.R. § 216.3).

Overfished: As defined by the Pacific Fishery Management Council: any stock or stock complex whose size is sufficiently small that a change in management practices is required to achieve an appropriate level and rate of rebuilding. The term generally describes any stock or stock complex determined to be below its overfished/rebuilding threshold. The default proxy is generally 25% of its estimated unfished biomass; however, other scientifically valid values are also authorized (PFMC 2004).

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