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

March 3, 2006

Fishing for rockfish and lingcod prohibited seaward of 30 fathoms in Marine Area 2

Action: Prohibit fishing, retention, and possession of rockfish and lingcod in Marine Area 2, seaward of a line approximating 30 fathoms, as defined by the following coordinates:

4731.70N lat. 12437.03W long.; 4725.67N lat. 12434.79W long.; 4712.82N lat. 12429.12W long.; 4652.94N lat. 12422.58W long.; 4644.18N lat. 12418.00W long.; 4638.17N lat. 12415.88W long.

Effective dates: From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 18, 2006, through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 15, 2006

Species affected: All species of rockfish and lingcod

Location: Marine Area 2 (Westport)

Reason for action: Yelloweye rockfish are one of seven overfished groundfish stocks, which are managed under rebuilding plans by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Pacific Council has adopted harvest guidelines for yelloweye rockfish for state recreational fisheries to ensure that rebuilding goals are met. Management measures to achieve these rebuilding goals include prohibiting the retention of yelloweye rockfish in recreational fisheries to encourage conservation of the stock and discourage targeting by anglers. However, yelloweye rockfish are caught incidentally while anglers are targeting other species, such as lingcod and halibut. Through its Ocean Sampling Program, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) collects catch data, including released catch information. Because yelloweye rockfish have a swim bladder and are typically caught at deeper depths, there is a high mortality factor associated with this incidental catch.

The rate of incidental catch of yelloweye rockfish was significantly higher last year as compared to WDFWs preseason projection. Without this 30-fm depth restriction, the Washington recreational fishery may exceed the harvest guideline adopted by the Pacific Council. In order to manage to this harvest guideline, WDFW committed to take in-season action to restrict bottomfish fishing seaward of a line approximating the 30 fathom depth contour in an effort to slow down the catch rate of yelloweye rockfish. This regulatory action follows through on that commitment.

While this action is necessary to reduce the yelloweye catch rate, much of the area where Washington anglers fish will still remain open to bottomfish fishing. The halibut and bottomfish fisheries will still remain open and anglers can target halibut deeper than 30 fathoms, then catch and retain their rockfish and lingcod once they are shoreward of the line approximating the 30-fathom depth restriction. However, any rockfish or lingcod caught while targeting halibut deeper than 30 fms cannot be retained or possessed.

Information contact: Michele Culver, (360) 249-1211

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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