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My son and I went on a bottom fishing charter today. It was a great day on the ocean, and we both limited on big lings, and caught some nice rockfish and one coho that was promptly and carefully released. Also caught on the boat was one 30 lb halibut and four or five chinook. There was one thing that was quite disturbing not only to us but just about everyone else on the boat: In the first couple of hours of fishing, quite a few yellow eye and canary rockfish were caught. At one point the captain said that if any halibut were caught, all the "orange fish" had to go over the side. I thought he was making some kind of joke that I didn't get... Right after the halibut was landed, I noticed half a dozen yelloweye and canary rockfish floating by the boat. Other people saw this too, and the captain then explained that the regulations say that if you catch any halibut, there can be no yelloweye or canary rockfish on the boat because Fish & Game would saw you are targeting them, and they are endangered. Throughout the rest of the day, quite a few more were caught, and after being pulled up from 180', most or all had expanded guts and blown eyes, and were dead or dying as they were thrown back in. Everyone, including the captain, thought it was a terrible waste. He mentioned that if he was caught with any "orange fish" on the boat (since there was one halibut), there would be a $700 fine. I hope that somehow this captain has just misinterpreted the regulations. Is this common practice? If it is common practice and he was doing things right, this seems like the dumbest game law I've heard of since the new law that will be in effect this deer/elk season that says you have to keep the genitals attached to the hind quarters! OK, maybe the yelloweye/canary rockfish regulation is even dumber...
 

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Just goes to show you about charter boats.. maybe if there is a species that needs protecting people shouldn't be allowed to kill them while targeting other species.. they should have had to release the halibut!!!!!

This is exactly the same as killing a Buck chinook then releasing it so you can keep a hen!!

And we wonder why groundfish populations are in trouble
 

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Law or no law, I just couldn't be that wasteful!
If I'd already hooked and conked some previous fish, the one that I could revive would go back, unharmed.
Common sense!
I'd just as soon go back home and buy a halibut!

Jen
 

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I hope it's not common practice because my interpretation says it's illegal.
Page 8 of the synopsis (which applies to all zones) states it is unlawful to waste fish. It also says it is unlawful to dispose of dead fish in Oregon waters. Its obvious the intent of the regulation where you can't retain Canarys during Halibut openers is to protect the rockfish. So release them if you want a halibut.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
If this is correct, then it's everyones responsibility that was aboard that charter to inform the proper authorities, IMHO.

[ 08-24-2003, 08:27 AM: Message edited by: Gobbaworms ]
 

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I wonder what reply you would get if you sent this letter to fish & game? what a waste, something needs to be done about stuff like that.
 

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Gobbaworms

Here is the problem, when a Canary or Yelloweye comes up from 200 feet, the air bladder that the fish uses to maintain bouancy expands giving the rockfish a fatal case of the bends. Survival is not likely, even if you puncture the air bladder and attempt to revive the fish.

So, imagine you are halibut fishing, and you catch and retain a legal halibut. Next drift you catch a canary rockfish, Its dead, fatal case of the bends, and releasing it is a waste to everyone except the gulls and sharks. Do you throw back the dead halibut or the dead canary rockfish? Here is the pertinant regulation:

Canary Rockfish Regulation

It is a poorly thoughout regulation that attempts to protect a species, but just ends up being wasteful as in the situation I described. Canary rockfish and halibut live in the same places and eat the same stuff. If you fish for halibut, you are going to catch and kill the occasional canary rockfish. The regulation needs to be changed to allow retention of the incidential catch. Forced releases of dead fish do not protect the species.

Plus - your not in Oregon waters when you catch canarys and halibut togther, so the disposal thing wouldnt apply. And I think the Oregon regulation on canarys is based on a NMFS ruling, which would take precidence. Third, the "waste" is once again outside the state, and as the "wasted" fish are not being landed in a Oregon port, the the unlawful to waste fish regulation (#10 on page 8) probably doesnt apply.

It Sucks. The legal thing to do is the unethical thing to do, the ethical thing to do is illegal. :depressed:

UG

[ 08-24-2003, 09:43 AM: Message edited by: Uglygreen ]
 

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UG,
All good points.
Its my understanding a punctured air bladder will heal. Even if the survival rate is lower, its not zero--like after you bonk one. So on my imaginary halibut trip, I throw back the rockfish (as soon as its caught)because I'm targeting a halibut.
To say the regs are poorly written and organized would be a compliment, hence all the questions.
I personally think this specific regulation is so poorly written because halibut openers are short relative to other seasons, therefore they spent little time on it.
Finally, if you come ashore in Oregon with ocean caught fish, you are subject to all the sportfishing laws of Oregon, so I believe Oregon "wasting laws" do apply.
Of course, when in doubt, in boils down to personal ethics. It does suck, just like throwing back a bleeding Nate. Also, when in doubt, err on the conservative side, 'cause ignorance of the law will not save you from a fine.
PS All the "you" s are not directed to UG personally.

[ 08-24-2003, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: Gobbaworms ]
 

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Ray S.
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We return tonnage of halibut while longlining bottom fish in Alaska. According to NMFS data on the subject if handled properly mortality is close to zero. Mortality of rockfish is close to 100 percent. A 10 lb. rockfish is probably 40 yrs. old. I'd say Jen's thinking right....Toss the live halibut and eat the delicious rockfish.
Kinda a goofy law.
Ray
 
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