Fish & Feathers: Spillage on the Beach

<I>RON MALAST photo</i><BR>One of the thousand or so fish littering the beach from Ocean Park to the Oysterville approach.

As reported in last week's Chinook Observer, over 1,000 dead fish washed onto the beach between Ocean Park and the Oysterville approach.

They were bottom-dwelling fish called "brown bombers" by some commercial fishermen or widow rockfish by Nahcotta biologists, and appeared to be copper-colored rock bass. Since all of the fish appeared to be of the same species, it stands to reason that they were taken by a commercial "dragger," who was over quota and simply dumped the load. About 10 percent of the fish washed up on the beach were filleted, adding more mystery to the spillage.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight fishery councils established by Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. Its purpose is managing fisheries from three to 200 miles offshore of the United States. The Pacific Council is responsible for fisheries of the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington. The ground fish covered under the council include more than 90 different species. Because ground fish, and in particular rock bass, are regarded as an over-fished species, they are regulated by very stringent rules in regard to ground and trawl nets. Quotas, catch rates and WDFW officials very closely monitor landings. Rockfish are long-lived, slow growing and late maturing.

Anyone having further information about this incident is asked to call the WDFW at 877-933-9847.

Animal SightingsIn talking to many people on the north end of the Peninsula, one thing is for certain; there seem to be many more critters around than usual.

Several people have told me that they have spotted cotton-tailed rabbits bounding about. I have only spotted three rabbits in the past ten years. There is also seem to be many more coyotes. Just last week, an Ocean Park resident who lives in a fairly wooded area spotted a mother coyote with six young pups crossing his yard, three days in a row.

At least three different people have had deer birthing in their backyards and delivering twin fawns. Bear sighting are always a subject of gossip and there have been plenty of those this spring and summer.

As the human population continues to grow on the Peninsula, furry creatures are slowly but surely losing their habitat. What will the future bring, only time will tell, as animals must adapt to man and man to animals.

WDFW BriefsEffective Aug. 3, the recreational halibut for Marine Area 1 will open three days a week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, until the remaining quota is taken.

Effective Sunday, July 22, people harvesting shellfish or seaweed will no longer be required to display their fishing license on their clothing.

Those hunters who put in for special tags can see the results of the draw on the WDFW web site.

Ron Malast is skipper of the charter boat Big Dipper, operating out of Sea Sport Fishing Charters in Ilwaco 866-211-6611.

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