California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Commercial Hagfish Fishery

Pacific Hagfish are offloaded from a commercial fishing vessel, showing characteristic slime; CDFW photo by Travis Tanaka

Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii), commonly known as "slime eels," are the target of a statewide re-emerging commercial fishery. These fish get their nickname from the ability to produce a protein-based, mucous-like slime when agitated. Once targeted during the late 1980s for the Asian "eel skin" trade, Pacific hagfish are now used for food in a few Asian countries, particularly in Korea. Pacific hagfish are fished commercially using 5-gallon, bucket-type traps and shipped live to Korea.

  • Commercial Landing Totals
    All commercially caught fish landed within the State must be accurately documented. The CDFW maintains basic catch records of amounts and values of the various marine resources taken by California's commercial fisheries.
  • Commercial Ocean Fishing
    Provides links to the current Commercial Fishing Digest, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, license information, and more.
  • Fish Business Information
    The CDFW License and Revenue Branch provides excellent service to our customers by issuing licenses, permits, stamps and tags consistent with statutory and regulatory requirements, collecting revenue, and providing information to support the use and enjoyment of California's diverse natural resources and insure that they are available for future generations.