Tag Archives: GROUNDFISH

NMFS Touts Economic Boost, Expected Catches From Rebuilding West Coast Groundfish Stocks

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS STORY FROM THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE

The successful rebuilding of several West Coast groundfish stocks that declined precipitously nearly three decades ago is now opening the way for increasing recreational and commercial fishing opportunities for many of the West Coast’s most delicious and nutritious fish species.

FEDERAL FISHERY OVERSEERS SAY THAT MANAGEMENT AND COLLABORATION HAS LED WEST COAST GROUNDFISH STOCKS TO REBUILD FASTER THAN EXPECTED, LEADING TO INCREASED ANGLING OPPORTUNITIES. (NMFS)

NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region published a new rule this week that increases catch limits and eases fishing restrictions for many West Coast groundfish, including rockfish, such as Pacific Ocean perch; flatfish, such as petrale sole; and roundfish, such as Pacific cod and sablefish. Groundfish represent one of the West Coast’s most important recreational and commercial fisheries, earning some $140 million annually for commercial fishermen who catch them with a variety of gear, including trawls, longlines, pots (traps), and baited hooks.

West Coast communities will see an increase of about 900 jobs and $60 million in income in 2019, according to an economic analysis of the new harvest rule. Recreational anglers will take about 219,000 more fishing trips, most of them in southern California with some in Oregon and Washington.

The collapse of several West Coast groundfish in the late 1990s led to severe fishing cutbacks so these stocks could rebuild, greatly curtailing a mainstay of the coastal economy. The groundfish fleet had to limit fishing even for the other more abundant groundfish stocks to avoid unintentional catch of the overfished stocks.

Through careful science-based management and collaboration among fishermen, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, tribes, West Coast states, and NOAA Fisheries, many stocks, including canary rockfish, bocaccio, darkblotched rockfish, and Pacific Ocean perch, rebounded faster than expected and are now fully rebuilt. Research and stock assessments by NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers documented the resurgence, opening the way for more harvest opportunities. Others, such as cowcod and yelloweye rockfish, have been found to be rebuilding much faster than anticipated.

AN ODFW DIVER FILMS A CANARY ROCKFISH OFF OREGON. (ODFW)

Those continued collaborative and scientific efforts made higher annual catch limits possible for many groundfish species for 2019 and 2020. This will increase recreational and commercial fishing for bocaccio, darkblotched rockfish, Pacific Ocean perch, lingcod north of the California/Oregon border, and California scorpionfish. The new rule also reduces depth restrictions for recreational fishing and increases trip limits for fixed-gear fishermen.

The changes are expected to boost commercial and recreational fishing revenues, with sport anglers expected to take thousands more fishing trips off the West Coast as a result. Their spending on motels, meals, charter trips, and more is expected to boost recreational fishing income coast-wide by about $55 million, with the largest increases in California.

The harvest rule changes also promote quota trading among fishermen in the Shore-based Individual Fishing Quota Program, also known as the Groundfish Catch Share Program, which will help them make the most of the new fishing opportunities. The changes will also allow increased catches of underutilized species, such as yellowtail rockfish, lingcod, chilipepper rockfish, and Pacific cod.

Although the bycatch of Chinook salmon in the groundfish fishery is low and is expected to remain low, this new rule adds tools for NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council to respond quickly to address any unexpected changes in the amount of bycatch.

All of this good news for fishermen is also good news for fans of healthy and delicious fish. Groundfish provide lean protein and are a good source of omega-3s. West Coast groundfish, including Dover sole, sablefish, and lingcod are versatile fish available year-round that lend themselves well to a variety of preparations.

ODFW Commission Sets 2019 Groundfish Regs, Adopts Urban Deer Program

THE FOLLOWING IS AN O.D.F.W. PRESS RELEASE

At their meeting in Salem today, the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved rules for a new urban deer control program for cities experiencing problems from high urban deer populations.

SOME URBAN DEER ARE BELOVED — THE NOW DECEASED NORRIS THE BUCK, AND SOME NOT SO MUCH. (ODFW)

The rules are based on SB 373 passed by the 2017 Oregon Legislature, which called for the development of a pilot program to allow cities to reduce deer populations in areas where high densities of deer are causing damage, health and safety concerns. To participate in the program, cities will be required to pass an ordinance or resolution declaring that city deer populations have risen to a level that is a public nuisance as well as an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of deer. Any cities participating will also be required to salvage deer meat and donate it to charity to the extent possible.

The Commission adopted recreational and commercial nearshore groundfish fisheries regulations for 2019 as proposed by staff. Next year’s regulations are very similar to 2018 regulations. The general marine bag limit will again be 5 fish. The lingcod, cabezon, and longleader fishery bag limits will also be the same as 2018, and retention of blue/deacon rockfish will be allowed in the longleader fishery. New for 2019, yelloweye rockfish allowances have increased, so recreational fishing will be allowed out to the 40 fathom line (instead of 30 fathom line) during the seasonal depth restriction, and the restriction is proposed to start one month later, on May 1.

YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH ANGLING WILL BE ALLOWED 60 FEET DEEPER IN 2019 THAN 2018, OUT TO THE 40-FATHOM LINE. (ODFW)

In other business, the Commission voted to:

  • Provide ceremonial hunting tags to the Burns-Paiute Tribe.
  • Fund several Access and Habitat projects and Restoration and Enhancement Projects, plus appoint Richard Heap of Brooking as Sportfishing Representative and Cary Johnson of Astoria as Gillnet Representative to the Restoration and Enhancement Board.
  • Adopt rules as proposed by staff for providing big game hunting tags to nonprofits for use by disabled veterans.
  • Update the Wild Turkey Management Plan, the first update since the Plan was adopted in 2004. The Plan adopted today updates trap and transplant guidelines, expands methods to address nuisance and damage, and outlines ways to improve hunter access to wild turkeys and strategies to create new turkey hunters

The Fish and Wildlife Commission’s next meeting is Jan. 18 in Salem.