Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Washington
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Washington Project

Five-year status review of yelloweye and bocaccio rockfish in Puget Sound

April 2021 - September 2021


Participating Agencies

  • West Coast Region

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires periodic reviews of species that are listed as threatened or endangered to ensure that the listing is still accurate. Specifically, section 4(c)(2) of the ESA states that the Secretary shall: Conduct, at least once every five years, a review of all species included in a list. Determine on the basis of such review whether any such species should be removed from such list, be changed in status from an endangered species to a threatened species or be changed in status from a threatened species to an endangered species. Yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger), and bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis) within the Salish Sea (Puget Sound, Georgia Basin) were listed under the ESA in 2010 and the next 5 year review is scheduled to be finished in late 2021. Understanding the population status of these listed rockfish is necessary to 1) inform fisheries and habitat conservation management, 2) inform population targets identified in the Rockfish Recovery Plan (finished in 2017), and 3) potentially propose changing the listing status of these fishes under the ESA. Improving our understanding of population status will entail collating and analyzing data from a variety of data sources. This project is a collaboration with scientists from NOAA Fisheries and the Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. We will conduct population assessments using contemporary and historical information for ESA-listed rockfish, which will help inform 5-year status review and assist NOAA Fisheries in its determination of the viability of these species.