CORVALLIS - A series of coastal workshops this month will introduce Oregon's commercial fishing fleet to new trawl gear designed to help them selectively catch abundant flatfish while avoiding species whose declining numbers have led to groundfish harvest restrictions.
The free workshops, sponsored by the Sea Grant Extension Program at Oregon State University, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Trawl Commission, will take place November 15-17 in Warrenton, Newport and Charleston.
The new gear was developed by Oregon trawlers and net-makers in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in an effort to reduce accidental bycatch of declining species, such as rockfish and whiting, while still permitting harvest of flatfish such as flounder and sole.
Paul Heikkila, Sea Grant Extension agent in Coos County, calls results of testing the new gear "very encouraging, with dramatically decreased catches of rockfish and whiting with no loss of flatfish."
The Pacific Fishery Management Council will begin requiring use of the selective flatfish trawl in the nearshore fishery on Jan. 1, 2005.
The workshops are designed to help commercial fishermen understand how the trawl is designed, rigged and fished, and how it compares to conventional gear. The program will feature presentations by ODFW personnel on the project, including diagrams, pictures and models. Three fishermen and a net-maker will discuss their experiences with fishing and modifying the trawl.
The workshops are scheduled for:
- Monday, Nov. 15, 2-5 p.m., Doogers Restaurant, 103 South Highway 101, Warrenton
- Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2-5 p.m, Englund Marine, 424 S.W. Bay Blvd., Newport
- Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2-5 p.m., Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (dining room), 63466 Boat Basin Road, Charleston
For more information contact Coos County Sea Grant Extension agent Paul Heikkila, Myrtle Point, at 541-572-5263, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sea Grant Extension fisheries specialist Stephen Theberge, Astoria, 503-325-8573 or by e-mail to email@example.com.