On the Pacific Coast the jurisdiction for fisheries management is divided between the Federal Government and the three coastal states. Generally the Federal Governmant has athority over the ocean waters from three miles from shore out to 200 miles and each of the three states regulate the waters from the beach out to three miles.
The Federal system of management is established under the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976. This Act charge the responsiblity of management to the Secretary of Commerce and eight Regional Mangement Councils. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is an agency within the Commerce Department's Oceanigraphic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which administers Federal fishing regulations. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) is Regional Coucnil with authority for the water off shore from Washinton, Oregon, and California.
The Pacific Council has Developed three management plans for fisheries within its juristdiction. These are Pacific Groundfish, Pacific Salmon, and Anchovies. The PFMC also allocates Pacific halibut between citizen of the United States. The Pacific Groundfish fishery is the largest and most important of the Federally managed fisheries in the Pacific Region.
For all of these fisheries acceptable biological harvest level or rates of harvest are set and are based upon the recommendations of Scientist serving on Committees of the Council. Many of these scientist are employees of the Federal or State Governments or Univesity researcher. These committess monitor the biological status of species while the Council set restrictions on their capture to best achieve the objectives established in the management plans.
All other fisheries are regulated by the three states. The agencies with this authority are the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Department of Fish and Game. The major fisheries managed by the three states include: Shrimp, crab, squid, Mackerel, Urchins, and Herring. In some cases the states will set "quotas" on the total amount of fish which can be taken during a year, but most often the state regualtions as very passive and yet provide sufficient controll to protect the fish from being overfished. These types of regulations included seasons, sizes, males only, and area closures.