San Juan County Bottomfish Recovery Program.
Note: Soundwatch's role with this program has ended.
The Whale Museum assisted San Juan County in monitoring eight voluntary "Bottomfish Recovery Zones" in the Salish Sea. The zones were part of the Bottomfish Recovery Program, which is under the auspices of the county's Marine Resources Committee (MRC). The MRC's projects have expanded to include a diverse variety surrounding the Marine Stewardship Area.
The zones are marked with signs such as the one shown on this page. Fishers are asked, but not required by law, to avoid these marine protected areas.
The most common types of bottomfish found in the islands include lingcod, cabezon and several species of rockfish.
The Bottomfish Recovery Program is necessary as bottomfish are easily subjected to depletion when the locations of the best fishing holes become widely known. Scientific research shows that when such areas are avoided by fishers, a portion of the fish population is sheltered for reproduction.
At a series of public meetings the eight Bottomfish Recovery Zones in the San Juans were identified as areas that were once highly productive but have since been "fished out." The Soundwatch coordinator monitors these zones and encourages compliance from fishers who enter them.
For more details on the San Juan County Bottomfish Recovery Program, and to view the Recovery Zones and a gallery of bottomfish photos, visit the MRC.
To learn more about bottomfish issues, read The Sex Life of Rockfish and The Rockfish Project.
For information on bottomfish research, see the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Love Lab.