Rockfish Conservation Areas
species at risk

Rockfish Conservation in the Gulf Islands


Yelloweye rockfish- Species at risk

Yelloweye Rockfish

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Author: Becca Gray

The Galiano Conservancy is embarking on its10th summer season of monitoring recreational fisher compliance within Rockfish Conservation Areas!

In partnership with the University of Victoria, the GCA has been monitoring the three Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA) bordering Galiano Island’s shoreline. This research project started in 2014, with master’s student Darienne Lancaster setting up shore-mounted trail cameras and interviewing recreational fishers to assess awareness of rockfish conservation issues.

As the project grew, so did our community outreach. This involved attending outreach events both on and off island, which has played a significant role in the project and our conservation impact. RCAs are protected areas that act as nurseries for juvenile rockfish. In these areas, hook and line fishing is not permitted.

There are 38 species of rockfish in BC, and many of these species are in decline, especially the Yelloweye Rockfish, which is listed as Threatened. Rockfish are slow-growing and late to mature, making them vulnerable to overfishing. Additionally, they experience something called barotrauma- the life-threatening expansion of their swim bladder caused by their rapid ascent to the surface when caught on a fishing line.

Descender devices are mandatory to use when releasing rockfish, they are used to bring the fish back to its original depth. Local fishing stores often sell different types of these devices, so make sure you have one on board!Knowing where and what you can fish for can sometimes be confusing.

MyCatch, a free app launched by Angler’s Atlas, is a fantastic resource with detailed maps and species information for the area you want to fish in. By logging the species you catch, you also get to be a part of exciting fisheries research!To be fully informed, look out for Rockfish Conservation signage and pamphlets displayed across Galiano Island this summer and across the Salish Sea!

To find out more about rockfish, check out our Species at Risk section HERE!