The California Department of Fish and Wildlife works with NOAA Fisheries Service, the states of Oregon and Washington and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to manage groundfish fisheries on a sustainable basis.
More than 90 species of bottom-dwelling marine finfish are included in the federal Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (GFMP) implemented by the PFMC in 1982. Species and species groups managed under the GFMP include all rockfishes (about 60 species), sablefish, thornyheads, lingcod, Dover sole and other flatfishes (not including halibut), Pacific whiting, and some sharks and skates. Since then, these species have been managed under the joint jurisdiction of the state and the federal government.
The Nearshore Fishery Management Plan (NFMP), mandated by the Marine Life Management Act in 1998, provides the basis for managing California's nearshore finfish fisheries. Nineteen finfish species are included in the NFMP; sixteen of them also occur in the GFMP.
Many groundfish species are important to commercial and/or recreational fisheries. In addition, they are important to scuba divers for their observational value and to the general public for their intrinsic value. The commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries are managed to ensure long-term resource sustainability and economic, recreational, cultural and social benefits.