Lawsuit threatened over Puget Sound rockfish – News Tribune

This is long overdue. The declining health of Puget Sound rockfish has been a known situation for decades and our DOE and DFWS have dithered with endless meetings and virtually no real action to protect this fish that rarely leaves it’s neighborhood during it’s lifetime. You fish them out, and they are gone. While the Feds say “it will have little effect” we’ll see whether that’s true, as the designation could be used for other recovery purposes, apparently. The fact that the Feds are 3 years late in getting this done is just another indicator of how broke the whole system seems at times.

The Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday it intends to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for missing a deadline to designate protected habitat for endangered Puget Sound rockfish.

5 Responses

  1. Fishbone is being facetious, but a good point is raised, They are OUR rockfish.I want the next generation to have the ability to go fishing and actually catch something. In CA, recreational fishermen were opposed to marine reserves, but many of the sport fishermen are now in favor of the practice. Simply put, it’s good to have more and bigger fish.

  2. Please take whatever action is needed to save OUR rockfish. Mr and Mrs Peanut.

  3. California has seen some recovery among many of its rockfish species by using designated “no-fishing” zones primarily along the coast of Central CA. After 6 years, fisheries biologists are seeing population recovery among many species of the slow growing, localized rockfish and other marine species. The various species (crabs, rockfish, cabezon,urchins, lingcod) are larger and more numerous in the protected areas. They also produce more and larger eggs/larvae than marine species in non-protected areas.

    CA fishermen maintain that many have lost their livelihoods. However during the past 6 years the seafood take has actually increased by close to 50%, so fewer fishermen are catching more fish. The “no fishing” zones also protect vulnerable species, such as rockfish, from becoming by-catch which is discarded by fishermen. Though necessitated by law, most by-catch does not survive the process of being caught and released. Mortality in rockfish species that are caught and released is close to 100%

    If WDFW, NMFS, and NOAA are serious about protecting rockfish, herring, sandlances, capelin, anchovies and other impacted species, they’ll need to ban fishing in selected areas and protect threatened species. If they wait too much longer, there will be nothing to save.

    • Alan;

      Well said. BC has also seen improvements in rockfish although they have had problems with poaching. Alaska has seen enormous improvements by instituting marine reserves (or no fishing zones) in it’s groundfish populations. You are also absolutely correct in that if state and federal agencies do not take aggressive action soon, there will be nothing left to save. Altantic cod populations were overfished down to 3.6% of recorded historic populations and despite aggressive creation of marine reserves, their populations have not recovered and nor have their population genetic structure recovered. Historically there were 300 pound fish and now if you find a local small population that can be fished, the size never exceeds 10-12 pounds. Also other ecosystem characteristics took over. Populations of cod were driven so low that huge forage fish eat the spawn and fingerlings are also preventing recovery. I keep hoping that decision makers will realize that commercial fishing interests do not have the best interests of the resource at heart. And, unfortunately here in WA the recreational fishermen are far more interested in personal freedom to fish anywhere than they are in rebuilding the resource. People who are far more knowledgeable than me about fisheries recovery tell me unofficially that we could have 4 to 7 times the number of groundfish in Puget Sound that we now have – if only we had a network of marine reserves in place that protected biologically unique fish like the rockfish.

  4. Well said, Al. It is time WDFW and NOAA and NMFS get their act together.

    Norm Baker

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