Pacific Herring Fishery Management Plan

Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasii) supports a historically and culturally important fishery in California, particularly in San Francisco Bay. It is also a critically important forage species for a wide suite of predators, including seabirds, marine mammals, and commercially and recreationally important fisheries. In the years immediately prior to the development of a Pacific Herring Fishery Management Plan (Herring FMP), the management of the fishery was precautionary with a high level of collaboration between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the fishing industry and the conservation community. There was, however, a need to update the existing management structure to one that is more efficient, and conforms more closely to the requirements of the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA). To achieve this, CDFW partnered with commercial fishery representatives and members of the conservation community, forming the Pacific Herring Steering Committee (Steering Committee), to develop the Herring FMP.

The goal of the FMP is to formalize a strategy for Pacific Herring management that is responsive to environmental and socioeconomic changes, using a decision-making process that preserves the sustainability of the fishery while considering the entire ecosystem. The MLMA requires that management be based on both the best available science and stakeholder input. Management objectives addressed in the Herring FMP include:

  • Modernization of the limited entry permit system for the commercial Herring fishery.
  • Streamlining and updating commercial Herring regulations.
  • Developing a Harvest Control Rule for the San Francisco Bay fishery that provides for a sustainable fishery and includes ecosystem considerations, while managing risk with precaution.
  • Developing regulations for the recreational Herring fishery.
  • Description of habitat and ecosystem considerations.
  • Development of collaborative research opportunities to monitor and assess Herring populations in Tomales Bay, Humboldt Bay and Crescent City Harbor.

The Herring FMP is the culmination of over four years of work and represents the recommendations from the Steering Committee and CDFW staff. The Herring FMP has undergone independent, external peer review and has benefited from input from the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission), Marine Resources Committee, California Native American Tribes, and stakeholders. The link opens in new windowPacific Herring Fishery Management Plan (PDF) link above provides a version of the FMP that has been formatted to meet Americans with Disability Act online document accessibility requirements and may differ in structure from the official version adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission and approved by the California Office of Administrative Law. To obtain a formal copy please contact Department Herring staff (contact information provided below).

For information on the management of the Herring Fishery in California or to report a Herring spawn, please contact:

Tom Greiner, Environmental Scientist
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
3637 Westwind Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Office: (707) 576-2876
Tom.Greiner@wildlife.ca.gov

-OR-

Andrew Weltz, Environmental Scientist
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
3637 Westwind Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Office: (707) 576-2896
Andrew.Weltz@wildlife.ca.gov

FMP Timeline

2020

  • Effective date for amendments to Herring Eggs on Kelp (HEOK) regulations (November 30)
  • Fish and Game Commission Discussion and Adoption Hearing for HEOK Regulatory Amendments (June)
  • Receive Public Comments on Draft HEOK Regulatory Amendments (April 15 - June 24)
  • Fish and Game Commission Notice Meeting for Draft HEOK Regulatory Amendments (April)
  • Permit Conversion (April 1)
  • FMP Implementing Regulations Approved by the California Office of Administrative Law (March 1)

2019

  • Marine Resources Committee Meeting to Discuss Further Amendments to HEOK Regulations (November)
  • Fish and Game Commission Adoption Hearing for Final FMP and Regulatory Changes (October)
  • Fish and Game Commission Discussion Hearing for Draft FMP and Regulatory Changes (August)
  • Receive Public Comments on Draft FMP (June 17 - August 1)
  • Fish and Game Commission Notice Hearing for Draft FMP and Regulatory Changes (June)
  • Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Update (March)
  • Fish and Game Commission Update (February)
  • Ongoing FMP Drafting and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Analysis (January-April)

2018

  • Ongoing FMP Drafting and CEQA Analysis (October-December)
  • FMP Peer Review Final Report of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (October)
  • CEQA Analysis and Scoping (August- September)
  • Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Update (July)
  • Stakeholder Meetings and Input

2017

  • Information Gathering and Data Analysis
  • FMP Chapter Drafting
  • San Francisco Bay Harvest Control Rule Development and Testing
  • Collaborative Research Protocol Development
  • Commercial Permit Holder Survey
  • Stakeholder Meetings and Input
  • Develop Regulatory Changes

2016

  • Project Management Team Contracted to Develop FMP
  • Tribal Notification and Consultation
  • Notification of Interested Parties and Stakeholders
  • Information Gathering and Data Analysis
  • San Francisco Bay Herring Stock Assessment Peer Review
  • Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Update