Yelloweye rockfish (PDF) is a federally designated "overfished" species, which means that less than 25 percent of their estimated pre-fishery population now exists. Each year, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) sets harvest limits for overfished species based on the respective stock assessments and rebuilding plans.
CDFW has two challenging goals to meet every year: 1) to ensure that harvest limits for overfished species are not exceeded, and 2) to allow groundfish fishing opportunities for the public. In 2007, the California recreational fishery significantly exceeded its annual harvest limits for yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish, resulting in early fishery closures.
Anglers can help to reduce the total harvest of yelloweye rockfish and increase fishing opportunities by: handling fish that are to be released properly, reporting catches and encounters to samplers accurately, abiding by all fishing regulations, and being able to distinguish prohibited species. Misidentifications, such as yelloweye rockfish being mistaken for "healthy" species like vermilion rockfish, lead to a higher total harvest of these overfished species. Overall, anglers need to minimize their contact with yelloweye rockfish so as not to exceed the harvest limit.
Reducing the total recreational take of yelloweye rockfish will not be an easy task, but you can do your part to help. By understanding the information and following the guidelines contained in the following resources, recreational anglers can help ensure future fishing opportunities.