By Andy Walgamott, on March 6th, 2014
Call it the OR7 of groundfish.
Though the species isn’t exactly known to be finloose like highly migratory Chinook and albacore (or footloose as a certain GPS-collared wolf), a black rockfish tagged off Monterey last summer was hooked this past weekend up near Newport, Ore. – a 600-mile swim.
(YAQUINA BAY CHARTERS)
An angler aboard Yaquina Bay Charter‘s boat the Gracie K hauled in the fish, which bore a tag from the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program.
After it was reported, the charter office posted that it received this message from CCFRP:
“Your fish was tagged and released in the Point Lobos reference site, was at liberty for 194 days, and moved approximately 606 miles (net distance traveled). This makes your Black Rockfish the new record for distance travelled by a CCFRP tagged fish!”
An official at the program told Northwest Sportsman that they’ve been tagging black rockfish since the mid-2000s to study their movement.
She said only four have shown longer movement, but nothing like this.
The species is hugely important to coastal sport fisheries and to better understand them both Northwestern states have been studying them.
Oregon biologists have also been tagging black rocks with tiny PIT tags since 2002. Fishing with volunteers out of Newport they’ve inserted around 30,000 of the devices. According to a webpage on the project, one out of every 100 fish brought back to the docks on Yaquina Bay by sport fishermen has a tag, about 2,500 or so black rockfish.
Up the coast 18 miles or so in Depoe Bay, Ore., however, only four of those fish have been recovered.
One angler who has participated in ODFW’s effort reports that many are caught within a cast or three of where they were tagged.
A WDFW study found that 75 percent of rockfish it tagged moved 6 miles or less, but 2 percent moved 60 miles or more. Maps show how far some went from tagging locations off the Washington and north Oregon Coasts, with one swimming from roughly Neah Bay south to Newport, and one from the Cape Falcon, Ore., area turning up off Eureka.
Black rockfish were the stock that showed the most benefit from California’s marine protected area program, according to a 2013 article in the San Jose Mercury News, but the migratory nature of a few kinda makes you scratch your head about what that mysterious ol’ ocean is capable of.