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WDFW Clarifies Recreational Bottomfish Limits for 2018


 

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE

 

Action:  Canary rockfish retention will be allowed in marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) beginning May 9. Anglers can keep up to two canary rockfish as part of the seven rockfish daily limit.

This rule change also clarifies that recreational anglers in all coastal marine areas west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line are allowed three additional flatfish per day (excluding Pacific halibut) that are not subject to the nine fish daily aggregate bottomfish limit, which can include flatfish.   

Effective dates: 

Canary rockfish retention: May 9, 2018.
Flatfish clarification: April 24, 2018.

Locations and species affected: Daily limits for ocean bottomfish are as follows (changes are in bold):

  • Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport): Anglers can keep any combination of nine bottomfish per day including: up to two lingcod; up to two cabezon; and up to seven rockfish (as many as two of which may be canary rockfish).

In addition to the daily limit of nine bottomfish, anglers may keep up to three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, sanddab, and flounder, per day.

  • Marine Area 3 (La Push): Anglers can keep any combination of nine bottomfish per day including: up to two lingcod; up to two cabezon; and up to seven rockfish (as many as two of which may be canary rockfish).

In addition to the daily limit of nine bottomfish, anglers may keep up to three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, sanddab, and flounder, per day.

  • Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay): Anglers can keep any combination of nine bottomfish per day including: up to two lingcod; up to one cabezon; and up to seven rockfish (as many as two of which may be canary rockfish).

In addition to the daily limit of nine bottomfish, anglers may keep up to three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, sanddab, and flounder, per day.

Reason for action: At its March meeting, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved changes to the Washington coastal recreational bottomfish fishery for 2018 as recommended by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This rule change is needed to extend the areas where canary rockfish can be retained to include Marine Areas 3 and 4. This change will take effect May 9 to align with the date that the 20 fathom (120 feet) rule goes into place in these areas as a precautionary measure to minimize the potential for increased encounters with yelloweye rockfish.

Prior to May 9, anglers can fish for bottomfish at all depths. When anglers fish in waters deeper than 20 fathoms, they are more likely to encounter yelloweye rockfish particularly if targeting deepwater lingcod. Yelloweye encountered in waters greater than 20 fathoms have a higher mortality rate than those encountered in shallower water, even when descending devices are used.

On April 16, anglers were notified that three flatfish could be retained in excess of the nine bottomfish aggregate limit. The notice is necessary to make it clear that anglers can keep their nine bottomfish aggregate limit, which can include flatfish, plus an additional three flatfish above the daily aggregate limit. 

These rules conform to action taken by the PFMC and the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

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

 

 

 


 

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