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#159879 - 09/14/02 03:12 PM Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
Sky-Guy Offline
The Tide changed

Registered: 08/31/00
Posts: 7191
Loc: Everett
Mainly impacts Commercial fishing, but some new recreational fishing changes. The one thing I hope they take into consideration is that all of the commercial bottomfisherman will resort to some other form of fishing, which adjusts the commercial pressure on other species. Here is the article from

Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. - Federal regulators on Friday voted to ban bottom-fishing next year on most of the Continental Shelf from Canada to Mexico.

The action, meant to stave off a catastrophic collapse of some Pacific Coast groundfish populations, is the strictest regulation of West Coast fishing in history. It ushers in a new era of fishery management that is based on how deep anglers can fish rather than harvest limits.

The ban promises to send shock waves through coastal economies already hurting from restrictions on logging and salmon fishing.

Sport and commercial fisheries generated $1 billion in income for the West Coast in 2001. Commercial landings were worth nearly $230 million, of which $62 million came from groundfish species.

The new limitations expand on emergency closures imposed last June. The Pacific Fishery Management Council, which voted late Friday, regulates Pacific waters from three to 200 miles offshore.

"It's pretty scary for everybody involved. The potential impacts for every fishing industry up and down the coast are pretty severe. It's like we are cutting off our arm to save our life," said Steven Kupillas, groundfish observer liaison with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Groundfish include more than 80 species, many of which have healthy populations. But over the past three years nine species have been declared overfished, despite steadily more restrictive harvest limits.

Rebuilding the rockfish species could take as much as a century for some, because they can live up to 90 years and produce young only sporadically.

The cutbacks were precipitated by scientific findings that four species of rockfish—a staple of party fishing boats and fish markets, where they are often sold as red snapper—were in worse trouble than thought. They are bocaccio, yellow-eye, canary and dark blotched rockfish.

Environmentalists also won lawsuits requiring the council to control bycatch, when species that cannot be landed due to harvest limits are thrown overboard dead after being netted along with other species that can be landed.

For commercial bottom trawlers north of Cape Mendocino on the Northern California coast, the council banned fishing between depths of 600 feet and 1,500 feet, with exceptions for petrale sole fishing outside of depths of 150 fathoms. During the summer the inshore boundary will move to 450 feet. South of Cape Mendocino, the council banned commercial trawling between the depths of 360 feet and 1500 feet. In the winter months, trawling is banned between depths of 300 and 900 feet.

For fixed gear, such as longlines and traps, the council will require boats to fish deeper than 600 feet off the Washington coast. For Oregon and Northern California, they banned fishing in waters shallower that 162 feet and deeper than 600 feet; south of Cape Mendocino, they banned fishing in waters shallower than 120 feet and deeper than 900 feet.

"The fixed-gear fishermen are basically going to be put out of business, except for black cod," a species generally exported to Japan, said Bob Alverson of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association in Seattle.

Shrimp could be taken as long as nets are equipped with excluders, which allow fish to escape.

On recreational fishing, generally done in shallow waters, the council restricted daily bag limits to 10 rockfish with no more than two canary rockfish and no yelloweye rockfish in Washington. In Oregon and Northern California, they kept the bag limit to 10, with one canary rockfish and one yelloweye rockfish.

"The recreational restrictions are just as difficult as the restriction on commercial," said council Chairman Hans Radke. "Nobody's free. Nobody's not hit by this."

The council cut harvests of the most overfished species of rockfish to extremely low levels: 172 metric tons for darkblotched rockfish, 41 metric tons for canary rockfish, 22 tons for yelloweye and 20 metric tons for bocaccio.

The new restrictions come as efforts to cut the groundfish fleet in half have foundered. Though fishermen and the council have endorsed a buyout plan, an appropriation of $50 million to fund it has stagnated in Congress for years.
You know something bad is going to happen when you hear..."Hey, hold my beer and watch this"

#159880 - 09/15/02 12:13 PM Re: Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
Slab Quest Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 08/17/01
Posts: 1639
Loc: Mukilteo or Westport
The Makah run a huge bottom-dragging operation out of Neah Bay. Will they be exempt from this new ruling?

#159881 - 09/15/02 08:55 PM Re: Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
Asteiger Offline
Juvenille at Sea

Registered: 02/13/02
Posts: 244
Loc: Los Angeles
Does this mean that the Puget Sound will be affected by this ban as well? Keep me posted


#159882 - 09/15/02 09:07 PM Re: Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
RICH G Offline
I believe in a lot of stupid schit

Registered: 11/05/00
Posts: 3339
Loc: Land of the Lost
I would asume that the tribes wont be exempt. But it wouldnt supprise me if they were.

#159883 - 09/15/02 09:32 PM Re: Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
steely Offline

Registered: 11/27/99
Posts: 58
I assume the Makah nation will be able to continue bottom dragging, if they wish, based on their special rights accorded by the US Govt and Wash State and the government's propensity not to rock the boat. It will be interesting to learn their decision. What is clear from the announcement is that "it's over" for non-tribal commercial with some restrictions on sports fishing. I suspect the commercials will support further restrictions on the sports fishing in the name of "conservation". I feel sorry for the coastal communities and people who have had their incomes impacted by something totally out of their control.

#159884 - 09/15/02 10:40 PM Re: Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
RICH G Offline
I believe in a lot of stupid schit

Registered: 11/05/00
Posts: 3339
Loc: Land of the Lost
If its a federal Ban the tribes may be in the same boat as the non tribal comercials.

I know that the tribes were impacted by the quota cutt backs last year for Halibut and Black Codd, to protect the yelloweye. Their quotas got cut way back just like everybody else.

#159885 - 09/16/02 12:02 PM Re: Bottom-fishing banned along West Coast
Mike Gilchrist Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 06/19/01
Posts: 173
Loc: Federal Way
The tribes do have thier catch limits adjusted just like everyone else. The council many times does not regulate gear types of the tribe, but they can and for example: in 2002 tribal bottom trawl regulations stated "Restricted to Council-approved gear." When they post the 2003 regulations online you can view it at

This has no impact on Puget Sound.

The press release is a little misleading because it leads you to believe that the yelloweye limit is a reduction to 22 mt. In reallity the yelloweye limit is actually a increase from 13 mt last year because they incorporated some Washington State data into the biological assessment. Of 22 metric tons, 3.5 mt is allocated to the Washington recreational fisheries, up from 3mt last year. That is certainly not enough to allow retention of yelloweye and if we are not carefull we risk loosing the coastal halibut season due to recreational by-catch. But it looks like we will stay under 3 metric tons of by-catch in 2002 so I expect that with a little effort we can continue to keep by-catch at low levels next year.
Mike Gilchrist


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