NEWPORT, Ore. — Sport anglers fishing from boats can no longer retain cabezon effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14. This restriction does not impact shore-based anglers.
The boat-based recreational harvest of cabezon is approaching the 16.2 metric ton quota, and the restriction is necessary to keep total year-end impacts within that quota. Anglers have been encountering more cabezon the last couple of years, and the average weight is up, similar to last year.
Anglers fishing from shore may still retain a one fish sub-bag limit of legal sized cabezon (16 inches or greater). Harvesting these fish from shore is infrequent, contributing a very small amount of mortality and is excluded from the retention closure.
Sport anglers fishing from boats who catch a cabezon after Aug. 13 must release it. Cabezon have an excellent survival rate of 93 percent when released. Unlike rockfish, cabezon do not have a swim bladder, and therefore do not suffer from barotrauma (expansion or rupture of the swim bladder when fish are brought up from deep waters) that can cause stress, injury, and sometime death. Most released cabezon will live to see another day, and perhaps reproduce again.