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

June 13, 2017

Surf perch daily limits to increase July 1; descending devices required in coastal marine areas

Action: The daily limit for surf perch in marine areas 1-3 and Marine Area 4 (west of Bonilla-Tatoosh line) will be 12 fish per day beginning July 1. All vessels fishing for bottomfish and halibut will also be required to have a descending device on board.

These actions are reflected in the 2017/18 Sport Fishing rules pamphlet.

Effective date: July 1, 2017.

Species affected: Bottomfish and surf perch.

Location: Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 2 (Westport), 3 (La Push), and west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line in Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay).

Reason for action: Surf perch daily bag limits were reduced from 12 to nine fish per day when the bottomfish limit was reduced for 2017 earlier in the year. However, the reduced daily limit was implemented as a measure to protect coastal rockfish resources, primarily black rockfish. The coastal surf perch resource is healthy and changes to the bottomfish limit that includes surf perch will have no beneficial impact on the rockfish population. As a result, the surf perch daily limit will be returned to 12 fish per angler per day.

Descending devices are used to release rockfish back to the depth of capture and significantly improve the survivability of released rockfish. This rule change will require a descending device to be on board the vessel and rigged for deployment when fishing for bottomfish and halibut, anglers are encouraged to use them when releasing all rockfish.

These rule changes are necessary to provide recreational fishing opportunity on healthy resources and minimize mortality of released fish.

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.

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