Loggerhead turtles from the endangered North Pacific population migrate to the waters off California and Mexico. Higher than normal sea temperatures during spring and summer can bring loggerheads close to the California coast, where they are more likely to be unintentionally captured by commercial fishing vessels. Fishing regulatory agencies and universities are working together with the fishing industry to reduce loggerhead bycatch without causing undue impact on the industry.
In an effort to reduce loggerhead bycatch, the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area was established off the Southern California coast. The area is subject to closure to drift gillnet fishing when environmental conditions bring loggerheads into commercial fishing grounds. The Closure Rules page provides backgrounds to the different tools used to assess Loggerhead bycatch risk. The Closure Status page displays the up-to-date environmental information used to determine closures, such as sea temperature and El Niño status, and closure status.
View historical environmental observations for the Southern California coast and the closure status for the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area going back to 2003, when the Conservation Area was established. Observation such as sea surface temperature, large temperature deviations, and El Niño status are available.