People For Puget Sound take stand on Rockfish

The public comment period on a state plan to conserve and recover Puget Sound’s rockfish population closes today January 4 and the environmental group People For Puget Sound has forwarded its comments to the state Department of Fish & Wildlife.

In comments prepared by Science Director Doug Myers,, People For Puget Sound wrote:

“In general, People For Puget Sound supports more robust management of rockfish populations and an ecosystem approach to addressing these unique, long-lived group of species.

The most diverse and abundant remnant of rockfish populations in the whole of Puget Sound persists in the area from Neah Bay to Tatoosh Island and must be permanently preserved as a No Take Marine Protected Area for its potential to restock depleted populations elsewhere in the Sound.

We agree that the complexity of rockfish life history may require that habitats other than the rocky habitats occupied by adult rockfish be protected and restored.

Some of the alternatives identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement present a false choice, because the grouping of environmentally sustainable and prudent management actions with more dubious “engineered solutions” such as artificial reefs and hatcheries leaves no clear way to separate those philosophically different choices.

Outreach messages should focus on the unique life history and management challenges that are leading to potential listing as threatened or endangered species.  The long lived nature of most rockfish species, long period of recruitment, the increasing fecundity with age, susceptibility to mortality as bycatch from other managed fisheries, complexities of their life history beyond adult rocky habitats and site fidelity that puts them at risk for overfishing are not generally known by either the public or the fishing community.

%d bloggers like this: