Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


A policy perspective on the emergence and fate of the US Rockfish Conservation Areas Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF


Attribute NameValues
  • Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) are large areas closed to fishing in federal waters off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) was responsible for the creation and regulation of the RCAs. The RCA boundaries were defined in 2002 to rebuild rockfish species declared as overfished in 2000. In 2006, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) designated approximately 12,620 square miles of the preexisting RCAs as groundfish Essential Fish Habitat Conservation Areas (EFHCAs). The addition of the EFHCAs was met with criticism from some frustrated stakeholders, who already saw the RCAs as an imposition on commercial fishing opportunities. This research explores deliberations leading up to the implementation of the RCAs and the establishment of groundfish EFHCAs and elicits stakeholder opinions about whether these management measures were beneficial to the fisheries and fishery management. The study also focuses on a recent trawl RCA, groundfish EFHCA designations, and decisions made by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council called Amendment 28; and the final action vote which was voted on in April 2018. Key findings from a content analysis of written documents and interviews with stakeholders suggest that unlike the 2002 RCA and 2006 EFH decisions, Amendment 28 was an effective stakeholder-driven process deemed successful by most participants. The general view of stakeholders is that the original RCA (2002) in combination with other management measures including groundfish EFHCAs (2006) and a subsequent Catch Share Program for the groundfish trawl sector (2011) helped rebuild overfished rockfish species. In Amendment 28, the PFMC took final action to reopen approximately 3,000 square miles to groundfish bottom trawling by eliminating the trawl RCA off of California and Oregon (though retained off Washington), close approximately 13,000 square miles designated as EFH, and close approximately 123,000 square miles to all bottom contact groundfish gear, in waters deeper than 3,500 meters. An analysis of the Amendment, stakeholder submissions and comments suggest that the Pacific Fishery Management Council is increasingly adopting regulations consistent with ecosystem, rather than single species, based fisheries management.
Resource Type
Date Issued
Degree Level
Degree Name
Degree Field
Degree Grantor
Commencement Year
Committee Member
Rights Statement
Peer Reviewed



This work has no parents.

In Collection: