Rockfish on the rocks?

NOAA seeks federal protection for three species

Photo courtesy of noaa

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking federal protection for three populations of rockfish (pictured) found in coastal Washington.

NOAA would like to see two species—canary and yelloweye—be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The agency is also asking that a third species—bocaccio—be listed as endangered. All of the fish are found in the Georgia Basin, which encompasses Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia.

All three of the bottom-feeding species are in decline due to high harvest levels. Because they mature slowly, the fish are especially vulnerable to overfishing.

Other concerns of NOAA scientists include the amount of rockfish bycatch—the unintentional killing of the species by other fisheries—and environmental factors: pollution, snags and loss of habitat.