|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Ocean anglers will have to stay close to shore for rest of year

  • Ocean anglers will remain inside the 20-fathom curve for the remainder of the year to curb the bycatch of yelloweye rockfish.
    • email print
  • Ocean anglers will remain inside the 20-fathom curve for the remainder of the year to curb the bycatch of yelloweye rockfish.
    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has opted not to open deep-water fishing grounds beginning Friday over fears that anglers could quickly fill the yelloweye quota for the season and force a shutdown until January.
    "It was either stay inside 20 fathoms or shut down the fishery," says Brandon Ford, spokesman for the ODFW's Marine Program in Newport.
    Anglers have been forced inside the 20-fathom line to waters 120 feet deep or less to steer clear of yelloweye. Though yelloweye cannot be kept by anglers, their bycatch in sport and commercial fisheries is monitored.
    At issue is the estimate of how many yelloweye rockfish have been killed so far this year by anglers, who are required to release yelloweyes they catch while fishing for other species such as black rockfish.
    Once caught, the fish often die, because being brought to the surface from the depths usually inflates their swim bladders, which keeps them from returning to the bottom.
    Oregon's recreational rockfish season has operated on the assumption that two-thirds of the yelloweyes caught and released will die.
    Anglers in July were moved to shallow waters to steer clear of these deep-water denizens. But enough yelloweye have been caught in other fisheries that the overall quota is close to being reached, Ford says.
    "We're basically down to a couple dozen fish," Ford says.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar