Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

February 17, 2017

Changes announced to 2017 ocean fishery for bottomfish

Action: Modify the recreational rockfish daily limit from 10 to 7 in Marine Areas 1 through 4, with a sublimit of 1 canary rockfish in Marine Areas 1 and 2 only. Adjust the overall bottomfish daily limit from 12 to 9 so anglers can continue to retain two bottomfish in addition to their rockfish limit. Remove the 22-inch minimum size limit for lingcod in Marine Areas 1 through 4, and reduce the size of the deepwater lingcod closure in Marine Area 1 by moving the southern boundary five miles north (46 degrees 33.00' N. Lat.).

Effective date: Immediately

Species affected: Bottomfish and lingcod


Bottomfish daily limit: Marine Areas 1 through 3 and Marine Area 4 (west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line)

Canary retention: Marine Areas 1 and 2

Lingcod season: Marine Areas 1 through 3

Deepwater lingcod closure: Marine Area 1

Lingcod minimum size limit Marine Areas 1 through 3 and Marine Area 4 (west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line)

Reason for action: The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted changes to the recreational bottomfish harvest limits and fishing regulations for the Washington coast as part of its management process for the 2017 and 2018 bottomfish seasons.

While the black rockfish stock remains healthy, catches have been higher in the last couple of years than the limits the Council adopted for 2017 and 2018. Changes to our recreational daily limits are necessary to ensure black rockfish catch in Washington recreational fisheries does not exceed the limit. Additionally, the west coast canary rockfish population has rebuilt and recreational harvest limits are sufficient to allow the retention of up to one canary rockfish in Marine Areas 1 and 2. Canary rockfish retention will continue to be prohibited in Marine Areas 3 and 4, but may be allowed in future years if it could be done in a manner that does not result in unintentional catch of yelloweye rockfish.

Removing the lingcod size limit will allow anglers to retain lingcod regardless of size. Lingcod are abundant and removing the size limit is not expected to have any effect on the conservation of the stock, and may reduce the amount of yelloweye rockfish that are encountered by anglers targeting lingcod.

The southern boundary of the deepwater lingcod closure in Marine Area 1 will be moved five miles north opening more area for lingcod retention.

These rule changes are necessary to keep recreational catch within federal harvest limits and to conform to rules already approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 902-2487

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.