NEWPORT, Ore. – On Sept. 7 ocean sport anglers may go back to catching six marine fish a day inside the 40 fathom line.
The marine fish daily bag limit was changed from six fish to five on July 7 after catch projections caused fishery managers concern that the fishery was progressing too quickly.
The fishery was also restricted to inside of 20 fathoms instead of the usual summertime closure of waters outside of 40 fathoms. The deep water closure was to reduce the likelihood of anglers catching canary and yelloweye rockfish, which typically live in deeper waters.
“This spring the groundfish catch was progressing faster than the same time last year,” said Don Bodenmiller, sport groundfish project leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Resources Program. “The fishery management team was concerned that if we didn’t take action to slow things down, the groundfish fishery would close early.
“It turned out that rockfish went off the bite for part of the summer and other excellent fishing opportunities relieved some of the pressure on groundfish,” he said. “Now we feel we can ease these additional restrictions and still stay within harvest guidelines for the remainder of the year.”
Several groundfish species in Oregon waters are managed using state and federal harvest caps.
“Like the decision earlier this summer, the move to restore the six-fish limit and open fishing to all depths came after consultation with our Sportfish Advisory Committee, which includes private anglers, charter boat operators and a port representative,” Bodenmiller said.
ODFW also announced today that beginning Oct. 1 the summer angling restriction on waters outside of 40 fathoms will be lifted and waters will be open to marine fishing at all depths.
The marine fish bag includes rockfish, greenling, and some other marine species. Boat anglers may no longer retain cabezon. Anglers occasionally catch, but may not keep, yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish. The two species are considered depleted by the National Marine Fisheries Service and a certain percentage of those incidentally caught must be reported as mortality.
A list of groundfish and fish included in the five-fish marine bag limit and waypoints for the 40-fathom line can be found in the 2008 Oregon Sport Ocean Regulations for Salmon, Halibut and other Marine Fish Species. Those items as well as waypoints for the 20-fathom line may be found at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/sport_fishing/.