Rockfish Conservation Areas

Rockfish Conservation Areas, or RCAs, are large-scale closed areas that extend along the entire length of the U.S. West Coast. The RCA boundaries are lines that connect a series of latitude and longitude coordinates and are intended to approximate particular depth contours. RCA boundaries are different depending on what types of fishing gear is being used.  RCA boundaries are likely to differ between the northern and southern areas of the coast. RCA boundaries are also likely to change seasonally, and may also be changed during the year through inseason actions. The locations of the RCA boundaries are set primarily to minimize incidental catch of overfished rockfish by eliminating fishing in areas where and times when those overfished species are likely to co-occur with more healthy target stocks of groundfish.  RCAs extending along all or part of the West Coast have been in place since September 2002. Researchers interested in historical RCA boundaries should contact the Groundfish Branch at (206) 526-6140.

Schedule of RCA boundaries:

Trawl (Groundfish and Non-Groundfish) RCA Boundaries.

NMFS is considering opening the groundfish trawl RCA off Oregon and California with Amendment 28 to the groundfish FMP.  More information about Amendment 28 to the Groundfish FMP can be found on the WCR Amendment 28 webpage and on the Council’s Amendment 28 webpage.

Check the Public Notice page for today's most up to date Trawl RCA boundaries (found at the top of Tables 1 North and 1 South), which are not yet modified by Amendment 28.

Non-Trawl RCA boundaries.

Check the Public Notice page for the most up to date Non-Trawl RCA boundaries (found at the top of Tables 2 North, 2 South, 3 North and 3 South).

Recreational RCA boundaries.

Check the electronic Code of Federal Regulations and State Groundfish recreational websites.

Defining RCA boundary lines:

Latitude and longitude coordinates for all of the potential RCA boundary lines are now available in CSV format (comma-delimited ASCII text format) so that the data may be more easily used in mapping and navigation software. CSV files do not allow for multiple worksheets within a single file; therefore each RCA boundary has its own separate file. All of the RCA coordinates can be easily downloaded and extracted using WinZip. Please review the Read Me file, then download the WinZip file and select the desired RCA boundary by scrolling through the list.