Whiting fishermen tie up boats and wait

Whiting fishermen tie up boats and wait

Pacific whiting is one of the largest fisheries in Oregon, but fishers have voluntarily tied up their boats until July 20 to avoid bycatch of overfished canary rockfish.

Larger Pacific whiting don't separate from smaller fish until later in the season, and a late summer caused an excessive intermingling of the two types of fish.

Whiting boats started fishing June 15 and quickly found there were too many small fish in their nets to make their trips profitable. Pockets of larger whiting off the coast turned out to be intermingled with canary rockfish, which has very low catch limits because it is considered overfished.

The precautionary stand down is designed to prevent an early season closure. In 2008, the whiting season closed with 60,000 pounds still uncaught when the fleet hit its canary rockfish quota. In 2007, the season shut down early because boats had caught too much of another protected species, widow rockfish.

Read more at The Daily Astorian.

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