NEWPORT, Ore. — Fishery managers today announced two changes to the ocean groundfish sport fishery effective Thursday, July 21.
The fishery beyond the 20 fathom line (as defined in regulation) will be closed in order to reduce catch-and-release mortality of yelloweye rockfish. Anglers may occasionally catch, but cannot keep, yelloweye rockfish while fishing for other species. Yelloweye rockfish, along with canary rockfish, are considered overfished by NOAA Fisheries and a certain percentage of those caught and released must be reported as mortality.
According to Lynn Mattes, ODFW sport groundfish project leader, yelloweye rockfish generally live in deeper waters so bringing the fishery inside 20 fathoms will reduce impacts to the population while allowing anglers to continue to fish for other bottomfish such as black rockfish and lingcod. Additionally, yelloweye rockfish caught and released from shallower than 20 fathoms have a lower mortality rate.
“After consulting with the Sportfish Advisory Committee we made the decision to pull the fishery into 20 fathoms to help reduce impacts to yelloweye rockfish, while still offering fishing opportunities for other species,” Mattes said.
The Sportfish Advisory Committee advises ODFW on marine sport fisheries and its members include private anglers, charter boat operators and a port representative.
In addition, sport anglers fishing from boats may no longer retain cabezon beginning July 21 because fisheries managers estimate the harvest limit of 15.8 metric tons will have been met. Sport boat anglers may continue to harvest other legal species such as black rockfish, lingcod and greenling.
Waypoints for the 20-fathom line may be found at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/sport_fishing.