Catch limits increase for key West Coast groundfish species

PORTLAND, Ore. — Federal officials said Tuesday they are increasing catch limits for several species of West Coast groundfish that were severely depleted more than a dozen years ago in a crisis that posed a threat to the commercial and sports fishing industries.

Limits for yelloweye rockfish will more than double, while substantial increases will be allowed for California scorpionfish, bocaccio and Pacific Ocean perch, the National Marine Fisheries Service said.

Those species have recovered enough to allow for the greatest expansion of a West Coast fishery in years.

The formal announcement of the revised catch limits published Wednesday and the changes will go into effect Jan. 1, the first day of the new fishing season.

Fishing income in California, Oregon and Washington could increase $60 million because of the changes, with the potential for 900 new jobs and at least 200,000 more angler trips a year, according to a preliminary report.

“It’ll actually allow us to fish,” said Tom Marking, a recreational fisherman from Eureka, Calif.

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