Higher Limits for Oregon Coast Groundfish Season
(Newport, Oregon) - As of May 1, saltwater sport fishers will be able to put one more groundfish in the marine fish daily bag – the highest bag limit since summer of 2005.
In April, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a change to increase the bag limit from six marine fish to seven effective May 1. The marine fish bag includes rockfish and other species such as greenling and cabezon. The increased bag limit is based on a favorable stock assessment for black rockfish, the dominant species in the nearshore groundfish fishery.
Not included in the marine bag limit are groundfish species such as lingcod, which has its own limit of two per day, and flatfish, like sole, flounder and sanddabs, which have a 25-fish daily limit. Pacific halibut are not considered groundfish and have a separate bag limit and season.
Several groundfish species in Oregon waters are managed using state and federal harvest caps including black rockfish, yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish. Black rockfish make up the majority of an angler’s marine bag, so a favorable stock assessment means more opportunity for anglers.
Anglers must still avoid and not retain yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish, but they generally live in deeper waters than black rockfish. The two species are considered depleted by the National Marine Fisheries Service. This time of year through Sept. 30 fishers going after groundfish are constrained from fishing outside of 40 fathoms to reduce the number of yelloweye and canary rockfish caught incidentally.
The ocean coho season is expected to be a monster off Oregon’s coast, if recommendations made last month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council are carried through at the NOAA meeting in May.
The PFMC suggested a 10-week season south of Cape Falcon, which includes most of the Oregon coast, with a catch quota of 110,000 adipose fin-clipped hatchery selective coho and a daily bag limit of three fish. This will be the largest quota for the south of Cape Falcon sport fishery since selective coho seasons were first adopted in 1998.
North of Cape Falcon the season will be 13 weeks with a catch quota of 88,200 adipose fin-clipped coho and a daily bag limit of two.
A total of 1.3 million adult coho are expected to return to the Oregon Coast and Columbia River, up from the 2008 forecast of 276,000.
“Anglers should start sharpening their hooks because this is the largest coho quota since 1992,” said Ron Boyce, Technical Resources Program manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
More info at at the state's website.
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