Did you know that some yelloweye rockfish
that are here today were Washington residents before it became a
state in 1889? They have been and continue to be an important
part of our heritage.
Halibut and bottomfish fishing have also
been a part of Washington’s culture for hundreds of years. Many
generations of fishermen have relied on halibut and bottomfish
for food and recreation.
A recent stock assessment indicates that
the yelloweye rockfish population has declined over 80% from its
initial level. As a result, immediate action must be taken if
the stocks of these long-lived fish are to be rebuilt.
To rebuild yelloweye rockfish populations,
the harvest opportunities for this species must be severely
curtailed. In recent years, the Pacific Fishery Management
Council has set yelloweye rockfish harvest levels for all
commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries combined for
California, Oregon, and Washington of about 17 metric tons (mt).
This number includes yelloweye rockfish that are discarded at
The Washington recreational harvest target
is about 2.7 mt (fewer than 1,000 fish) in coastal waters. To
put this in perspective, in 2001, the Washington recreational
fishery harvested 15 mt.
Yelloweye rockfish, in general, are harvested during the
Washington recreational halibut fishery. If the yelloweye
rockfish catch is projected to exceed 2.7 mt, then Pacific ocean
waters adjacent to Washington outside 25 fathoms will be closed
to recreational bottomfish fishing (including halibut).
If yelloweye rockfish cannot be avoided when anglers are
targeting halibut, then we may have to close recreational
halibut fishing in the future to protect yelloweye rockfish.
Because the yelloweye rockfish stock may not be rebuilt for over
100 years, the problem of managing the yelloweye fishery will
continue through our lifetime; however, you have the ability to
help save the halibut fishery now and preserve the yelloweye
resource for the future.
Live to be 120 years old
Range extends from Mexico to Alaska
Found in deeper, rocky bottom areas
Slow growing,low productive species
Reddish-orange in color with bright yelloweye
Commonly called "red snapper"
Often spend their entire lifetime on one rockpile
How You Can Help
If you are participating in the recreational halibut or
bottomfish fishery, please avoid areas that are known to
have yelloweye rockfish.
If you do accidentally catch a yelloweye, please return
to the water s soon as possible.
Help spread the word to others about the severity of the
yelloweye rockfish depleted population and the possible
consequences of not avoiding yelloweye areas
If you do not know what areas may have yelloweye
rockfish, please consult a local resort, motel, or charter
office or other expert before fishing
Summer is upon us and it’s time to fish! I hope
everyone can take the much needed time off to get on
the water. It seems many of us are busier than ever
and taking days off to fish is getting near
impossible. But since fishing is at the core of our
hearts, we will find a way.
There will be some impressive salmon runs this year
that will surely bring smiles to everyones face
including those kids. Get them out on the water but
make sure they have their life jackets on. We have
crabbing coming up shortly and halibut and shrimping
in the Puget Sound behind us. I hope everyone did
well with these fisheries that we worked so hard to
thing that we need to remember is that safety is
first and things happen fast on the water. A boat
sunk in front of me when shrimping the Puget Sound
opener. We had big winds in the Edmonds area. This
boat stood straight up on end then went down when a
wave went over the back. This happened in seconds. I
yelled for the crew to hold on cracked the throttles
and called in a Mayday in a matter of seconds. We
were the second boat on the scene. The good lord was
watching out for this guy as the water flattened in
this area for this little Arima to drive up to him
and pull him out of the water. It would not have
been as easy if the wind was what it was when it
flipped. I took a picture and in the background you
can see whitecaps but where we were it laid down.
He was in the water about 2-3 minutes. Fast
reaction and knowing what to do is something that we
have to be prepared for. Make sure all of your
safety devices are intact and your boat is ready for
this season. Flares, fire extinguishers, floatation
devices, float coats should always be worn and
equipment should be shown to all before leaving the
dock so if an emergency arises, they will know what
State and Sno-King purchased 400 more rockfish
descending devices and handed them out to fishers
that were fishing the ocean. We had 3000 rockfish
identification sheets printed and handed many out
already. This year we expanded 70 fish descending
devices to Westport with the identification sheets.
We are making a difference in our fisheries by
education outreach. Using rockfish descending
devices and understanding what a rockfish feels like
on the hook, can allow slow retrieve to save the
fish. Our crew has gotten so good at it, that it is
extremely rare for us to have a rockfish with boated
eyes or stomachs out the mouth anymore. This is even
from 600’ deep! Being a forerunner of rockfish
descending we have learned invaluable techniques are
passing on to our sportsfishers. These fisheries
are ours to take care of or lose. It is imperative
to monitor and conserve our fisheries for us to
Salmon for Soldiers will be September 13 and
everyone should come and honor our war heroes. Most
chapters will be supplying the boats for this event
to take them fishing. For more info go to
Everett Central Lions Club Derby for the Blind will
be the following day, Sept 14, where we take blind
people fishing. Everett has been doing this for
longer than I have. I think this will be my 10th
year. PSA donates most of the boats and crew for
this wonderful event.
Come and learn how to fish from our skilled members
at a local chapter. We are the true conservationists
in Washington that work using common sense on our
fisheries. Join your local chapter today and be part
of the solution. We understand today’s problems and
are working together for a better tomorrow.