In an effort to protect and restore dwindling rockfish and lingcod populations along the BC coast, Fisheries & Oceans Canada have implemented 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas coast-wide. These include 86 in the Strait of Georgia and its northern reaches. (View the 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas.)
Within Rockfish Conservation Areas, any fishing activities that impact on rockfish, lingcod, or their habitat (including activities resulting in bycatch of these species) are prohibited.
Rockfish are particularly susceptible to overfishing, because they rarely survive after being caught and released. When a rockfish is brought to the surface, the gases inside its swim bladder expand and the bladder balloons, bursting and sometimes being expelled through the mouth. Even when the fish appears unharmed and swims away, its swim bladder has been damaged and an infection will set in, killing it within a few weeks.
Both rockfish and lingcod are long-lived fish (living to about 100 and 60 years respectively), and they do not reproduce until they are at least 10 years old. Therefore it’s important to set aside refuge or nursery areas, where these fish can grow to maturity and reproduce.