The announcement comes just two days after the council voted to close the upcoming sardine season, which starts July 1. Wednesday's action takes the closure a step further, making it immediate instead of allowing fishermen to carry out the remaining weeks of this season.
The mid-season closure highlights fishery managers' intense concern about a collapse that has decimated sardine stocks in recent years. Today, there are only 10 percent as many sardines in the water as there were in 2007.
Council designee Michele Culver of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed the closure, calling it an "urgent action."
"This is not a decision the council makes lightly," Culver said. "We understand the disruption to the sardine fishery resulting from in-season action."
In Oregon alone, sardines are a multi-million dollar fishery.