NEWPORT, Ore. -- Fishery managers today announced two changes to the ocean groundfish sport fishery effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 23.
The fishery beyond the 20-fathom line (as defined in regulation) will be closed in order to minimize catch-and-release mortality of yelloweye rockfish. Anglers may occasionally catch, but cannot keep, yelloweye rockfish while fishing for other species. Yelloweye, along with canary rockfish, are considered overfished by NOAA Fisheries and a certain percentage of those caught and released must be reported as mortality
In addition, sport anglers from boats may no longer retain cabezon because the harvest cap for the year is close to being met.
According to Lynn Mattes, ODFW sport groundfish program leader, yelloweye rockfish generally live in deeper waters so bringing the fishery inside 20 fathoms will protect that population while allowing anglers to continue to fish for other bottomfish such as black rockfish and lingcod.
“Yelloweye catch has been up along the entire Oregon Coast,” Mattes said. “After consulting with the Sportfish Advisory Committee we decided to pull the fishery into 20 fathoms to protect yelloweye while still offering a fishery for other species.”
The Sportfish Advisory Committee advises ODFW on marine sport fisheries and its members include private anglers, charter boat operators and a port representative.
The cabezon fishery will close to retention on July 23 because managers estimate the harvest cap of 15.8 metric tons will have been met. Sport boat anglers may continue to harvest other legal species such as black rockfish, lingcod and greenling, while shore anglers may still keep cabezon.
Waypoints for the 20-fathom line may be found at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/sport_fishing.