For the next handful of days, you can still keep as many as seven cabezon a day out on Oregon’s briny blue, but starting April 1, the limit drops to one.
The new rule stretches the season through Sept. 30 without a quota, which has governed past years’ fisheries, and led to a July 23 closure last year when the harvest cap of 15.8 metric tons had been met
April 1 through Sept. 30 is also the period that bottomfish anglers must stay within the 40-fathom line, defined by waypoints.
According to a press release from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildife, fisheries scientists assessed cabezon numbers for the first time in 2009. Based on the results, there’s a new federal harvest cap off Oregon starting this year 2011. The seasonal sub-bag limit is intended to allow year-round fishing for cabezon, while staying within the federal harvest cap, ODFW says.
“If carefully released, cabezon have an excellent survival rate,” Lynn Mattes, ODFW’s project leader for marine recreational groundfish fisheries, said in the press release. “Both the cabezon anglers keep and the fish that die after release count toward the federal harvest cap, so, like with any other fish you can’t keep, careful release is important.”
Mattes’ agency also reminds anglers that along with the 40-fathom restriction, the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area is closed for bottomfish and Pacific halibut at all times. Both closure areas are to reduce the likelihood of anglers’ catch of yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish, which may not be retained at any time, ODFW says.
For the waypoints and maps defining both the 40-fathom line and Stonewall Bank YRCA visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/groundfish_sport/sport%20fishing/index.asp.