1995 Status Of Puget Sound Bottomfish Stocks


Published: December 1996

Pages: 103

Author(s): Wayne A. Palsson, James C. Hoeman, Gregory G. Bargmann, and Dwane E. Day


Stock assessments were conducted for thirty-six bottomfish stocks in Puget Sound. Catch, effort, and survey data were assembled for North and South Sound regions for each of 18 species or species complexes. Only 28 stocks had sufficient information to determine stock status and recent trend. The majority of these stocks were in below average, depressed, or critical abundance conditions. Thirteen of the 28 stocks were in decline while eight were increasing. North Sound had more stocks at average or above average conditions than South Sound, where eight of eleven stocks were at below average or critical conditions. South Sound had seven stocks which lacked recent information to assess stock status.

Spiny dogfish, skates, and ratfish appeared to be in satisfactory condition. In contrast, virtually all of the codfish stocks (Pacific cod, walleye pollock, and Pacific whiting) were in depressed or critical conditions or were in decline. Rockfishes and lingcod, species living in association with rocky reefs, showed mixed patterns of stock condition. Lingcod were declining in North and South Sound, and populations were depressed in North Sound but were at average levels in South Sound. Rockfish populations showed no trend in either area and were at average levels in North Sound and at below average conditions in South Sound. English sole and starry flounder, key flatfish stocks in North Sound, were increasing in abundance but the fisheries remove a substantial proportion of the adult population which are overutilized. In South Sound, the lack of recent fisheries precluded the determination of stock condition, but trawl survey data suggested the stocks are underutilized. A variety of species including greenlings, sculpins, and sablefish had very poor information to assess stock condition.