Last updated on 12 October 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Ophiodon elongatus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Lingcod

COMMON NAMES

Alaska ling cod, Cultus cod

Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) ranges from Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, and its center of abundance is near British Columbia and Washington and genetic variation indicates that lingcod are genetically similar throughout the range (Jagielo et al. 1996). Lingcod is assessed in the full Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) management zone (the US-Vancouver, Columbia, Eureka, Monterey, and Conception INPFC areas). This species is managed as two units – a northern stock including the waters off Washington and Oregon and a southern stock including the waters off California. Jagielo and Wallace (2005) conducted an assessment of lingcod split into a northern and southern stock based upon the INPFC areas: Vancouver-Columbia (excluding Canadian waters) and Eureka, Monterey, Conception.

The most recent assessment (Hamel et al. 2009) kept the north – south split but based this on state boundaries – the Northern area being Washington and Oregon, and the southern area being California. This choice was made due to data availability and evidence that the Eureka area appeared to be connected to the northern and southern areas, so the Eureka area was split in half.

Management of this fishery on a national level is the responsibility of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In the United States, management measures for the Pacific groundfish fishery are described in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Management Plan (Jagielo and Wallace 2005).

Fishery landings and catch distributions suggest no clear stock delineations for lingcod in U.S. waters and survey catches imply a continuous distribution over most of the range, with the largest catches occurring over a swath of latitude and depth (Jagielo and Wallace 2005).

Tagging studies on the other hand indicate that lingcod are generally non-migratory, though some tagged individuals have moved exceptional distances. Indirect evidence suggests a seasonal onshore movement associated with spawning (Jagielo 1996). U.S. and Canadian tagging studies have demonstrated movement between coastal areas off Washington and southwest Vancouver Island. However, there is little interchange between these areas and the inland marine waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia. Thus, the exchange of adult lingcod across the US / Canada border appears limited. This also appears to be the case with the US / Mexican border (Medley et al 2014).

The current northern and southern stocks are based on a lack of demographic connectivity at moderate to large scales (~100-1000 km) along the coast despite general genetic similarities (Marko et al., 2007), data availability which restricts the number of areas that it is possible to model in an assessment, and evidence from comparison of length compositions and survey indices that the Eureka INPFC area is more like the areas to its north than those to its south (Medley et al 2014).

This fishery was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council system in June 2014. Click here to link to the MSC fishery page and to learn more about the MSC fishery certification unit.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

• Analytical stock assessments are conducted for most significant species

• There is a coherent approach to data collection and scientific surveys covering species complexes

• There is a strong link between stock assessment results and management action enforced through law

• Management decision-making is relatively transparent

• There is a clear and extensive external and internal review process

(Medley et al 2014)

Weaknesses

• Stock identity is often not well defined, and co-operation with Canada over potential shared stocks is weak

• Time series data are relatively short and information is sometimes lacking for important early periods in the fisheries

• Many of the species caught are vulnerable to overfishing

• Very little is known about some of the large numbers of species landed in the trawl fishery.

(Medley et al 2014)

Options

Landings (target and bycatch) mostly by OT (1928 – present); discards observer derived (OT: 50% since 2002; rec: 5%); recreational removals (1928 – present); assumed 100% PCM (Medley et al 2014).

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

NOT YET SCORED

Managers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Fishers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the MSC certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met. Offer assistance in closing conditions where possible.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • US West Coast limited entry groundfish trawl:

    MSC Certified

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
US Pacific Coast US West Coast United States Hooks and lines
Single boat midwater otter trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Strengths
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

• Analytical stock assessments are conducted for most significant species

• There is a coherent approach to data collection and scientific surveys covering species complexes

• There is a strong link between stock assessment results and management action enforced through law

• Management decision-making is relatively transparent

• There is a clear and extensive external and internal review process

(Medley et al 2014)

Weaknesses
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

• Stock identity is often not well defined, and co-operation with Canada over potential shared stocks is weak

• Time series data are relatively short and information is sometimes lacking for important early periods in the fisheries

• Many of the species caught are vulnerable to overfishing

• Very little is known about some of the large numbers of species landed in the trawl fishery.

(Medley et al 2014)

Options
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Landings (target and bycatch) mostly by OT (1928 – present); discards observer derived (OT: 50% since 2002; rec: 5%); recreational removals (1928 – present); assumed 100% PCM (Medley et al 2014).

RECOMMENDATIONS
US West Coast
United States
Single boat midwater otter trawls

Last updated on 1 November 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Monitor the progress in closing out conditions placed upon the MSC certification of the fishery and if agreed timelines are met. Offer assistance in closing conditions where possible.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Potential aging bias requiring further study. Steepness assumed = 0.8. Good maturity and fecundity data from variety of sources. Sex-specific natural mortality (M) assumed = 0.18 (M) or 0.32 (F) (Medley et al 2014).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Migration/mixing studies suggest limited interaction across Canadian and Mexican borders while age/size/sex data suggest no clear discontinuities. The N/S stock division is based on length frequency differences. Genetic studies show general similarity (Jagielo and Wallace 2005).

Reference Points

Last updated on 12 Oct 2016

Currently, the SSC considers that there is inadequate information to directly estimate FMSY, and therefore proxies are used to set the OFL, based on the spawning potential ratio (SPR) at MSY: F45% for all species such as lingcod (Medley et al 2014).

CURRENT STATUS
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Depletion of female spawning biomass relative to virgin levels is currently well above the management target (40% of B0). The spawning potential ratio (SPR) has been above the proxy target of 45% (indicating fishing mortality rates below the target) since 1998, and in recent years has been far above that level (Medley et al 2014).

For most stocks in which recruitment events are reasonably well specified by the data, the 1999 recruitment was estimated to be as great or greater than any recruitment over the preceding 10 to 20 years. For example, the 1999 and 2000 lingcod year classes were the second and third largest since the early 1970s, resulting in more than a tripling in abundance between 1999 and 2005 (Medley et al 2014).

Trends

Last updated on 12 Oct 2016

Hamel et al. (2009) provide the most recent status of the northern and southern lingcod stocks. In the north, female spawning biomass declined rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s, hitting a low of 3,217 t in 1995, and subsequently recovering to 21,264 t by 2009. There was a very strong recruitment event in 1964, a secondary event in 1970, and more recent relatively strong recruitments during 1999-2002, with fairly high recruitment in 2006 as well. Recruitments subsequent to 2007 have to be inferred from the assessment’s stock-recruit relationship.

For the southern stock, female spawning biomass declined rapidly in the 1970s and early 1980’s, reaching a low of 2,320 t in 1998, and subsequently recovering to 13,466 t by 2009, which is over 70% of the virgin level. There were relatively strong recruitment events in 1976, 1983 and in 1999-2003, similar to the period of increased recruitment in the north, with a very high but uncertain recruitment in 2007. As in the north, recruitments subsequent to 2007 have to be inferred from the assessment’s stock-recruit relationship.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Lingcod considered a QS species, and for these species traditional management tools such as trip limits and set-asides are used to control fishing mortality (Medley et al 2014).

Establishment of a maximum share that each limited access privilege holder is permitted to hold, acquire, or use, in case of Lingcod, about 2.5% (Medley et al 2014).

• Two-month or monthly cumulative landing limits (trip limits)

• Gear requirements, principally relating to trawl gear

• Time and area closures. For example, groundfish conservation areas (GCAs) prohibit vessels from fishing in depths where overfished groundfish species are more abundant. GCAs include coastwide rockfish conservation areas (RCAs) and more geographically discrete Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) in the Southern California bight and Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Areas (YRCAs) off of Oregon and Washington.

• Bycatch limits for the Pacific whiting sectors for select overfished species (PFMC, 2011q)

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 12 Oct 2016

In 2004 an amendment to FMP introduced a legally-compliant rebuilding plans, and is consistent with the framework established in Amendment 16-1 for canary rockfish, darkblotched rockfish, lingcod, and Pacific ocean perch (Medley et al 2014).

An early assessment of west coast lingcod identified the stock as overfished, and the rebuilding analysis ultimately resulted in a rebuilt population within the mandated 10 year time frame (Medley et al 2014).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
Other Species
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

Discard mortality is thought to be closer to 50% however; in trawls discard mortality is likely to be very high (Medley et al 2014).

HABITAT
US West Coast

Last updated on 12 October 2016

With respect to the SI to demersal trawling, most habitats were assigned values between 0.0 (no impact) and 2.0 (substantial changes). However, with respect to habitats classified as slope - biogenic corals and slope - biogenic, sponges, values of 3.0 (major changes) were allocated. Similarly, with respect to the RI, most habitats were considered to be able to recover within 0 and 2 years (Medley et al 2014).

Thus, based on: (i) the scale of the fishery (~100 vessels), (ii) the understanding about sensitivity and recovery times, (iii) area closures in place to protect sensitive habitats, and (iv) area closures for other reasons (e.g. RCAs), it is highly unlikely that the fishery is reducing habitat structure and function to a point where there would be serious or irreversible harm (Medley et al 2014).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 12 Oct 2016

West coast MPAs fall into four different designations, each with rather different principal goals but all generating some significant level of benthic protection from fishing in general and demersal trawling in particular.

The four designation types are:

1) Sanctuaries: there is a network of marine sanctuaries operated under the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP). Sanctuaries have very restricted permitted activities. The west coast has five sanctuaries. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

2) Marine protected areas (MPAs): there is a large network of MPAs, with many on the west coast. www.mpa.gov/

3) EFH protection areas: areas closed to bottom fishing to protect specific EFH. http://www.pcouncil.org/groundfish/background/document-library/groundfish-essential-fish-habitatmodification-process/

4) Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs): closed to bottom fishing to protect overfished rockfish from trawling. These include areas closed to protect (i) rockfish assemblages, (ii) cowcod, and (iii) yelloweye rockfish. RCAs are substantial areas and have typically been closed since the early 2000’s. PFMC (2010a).

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

STOCK HEALTH:

No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

US West Coast limited entry groundfish trawl

STATUS

MSC Certified on 3 June 2014

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species – Arrowtooth flounder 85.6
Principle 1 – Target Species – Dover sole 84.4
Principle 1 – Target Species – English sole 85.6
Principle 1 – Target Species – Petrale sole 81.0
Principle 1 – Target Species – Lingcod (North) 93.8
Principle 1 – Target Species – Lingcod (South) 88.8
Principle 1 – Target Species – Sablefish 83.3
Principle 1 – Target Species – Chilipepper rockfish 88.8
Principle 1 – Target Species – Longspine thornyhead 92.5
Principle 1 – Target Species – Shortspine thornyhead 92.5
Principle 1 – Target Species – Splitnose rockfish 92.5
Principle 1 – Target Species – Widow rockfish 88.8
Principle 1 – Target Species – Yellowtail Rockfish (N – Vancouver) 92.5
Principle 1 – Target Species – Yellowtail Rockfish (N – Columbia) 87.5
Principle 1 – Target Species – Yellowtail Rockfish (N – Eureka) 87.5
Principle 1 – Target Species – Yellowtail Rockfish (South) < 60
Principle 1 – Target Species – Longnose Skate 92.5
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 85.0
Principle 3 – Management System 94.4

Certification Type: Silver

Sources

Credits
  1. Jagielo T.H. and Wallace F.R. 2005. Assessment of Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) for the Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2005. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife , October 2005. 17 pp.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/ALL_Lingcod_PFMC_Final_2005.pdf

  2. Medley, P.A.H., O’Boyle, R., Pedersen, M.G., Tingley, G.A., Hanna, S. S., Devitt, S., 2014. MSC Assessment Report for United States West Coast Limited Entry Groundfish Trawl Fishery. Version 6: Public Certification Report. Intertek Fisheries Certification, June 2014. 403pphttp://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/us_west_coast_limited_entry_groundfish_trawl/assessment-downloads-1/20140602_PCR_V2_GRO223.pdf

  3. Hamel, O.S., Sethi, S.A., Wadsworth, T.F. (2009) Status and Future Prospects for Lingcod in Waters off Washington, Oregon, and California as Assessed in 2009. November 6, 2009. Lingcod Assessment 2009 – Final – SAFE Version. Northwest Fisheries Science Center, U. S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 2725 Montlake Blvd East, Seattle, Washington 98112-2097.

  4. Jagielo, T. H., LeClair, L.L., and B.A. Vorderstrasse. (1996). Genetic variation and population structure of lingcod. Trans Amer. Fish Soc. 125(3).

References

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