The goal of our project is to promote the use of descending devices in the recreational rockfish fishery to reduce mortality of bycatch of overfished species. Best practices in the fishery are to avoid fishing in areas where regulated overfished species live.  However, if you catch a rockfish that needs to be released, don’t let it float away at the surface, release it back at depth with a descending device!  Long-term tagging studies show high survival of rockfish released back at depth, even if they suffer from barotrauma and appear lifeless on the boat.

What is barotrauma? Click here to find out!

Our project has multiple components.

Dockside Outreach: We partnered with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to distribute outreach packets including information on barotrauma, fish ID flyers and a free descending device at central coast harbors.  Our outreach included interviews of recreational anglers about the perceptions and usage of descending devices in the fishery.


Catch-and-release charters: In the summer of 2015, we chartered seven CPFVs (party boats) along the central California coast and invited volunteer anglers to try out five different types of descending devices.  We collected data the efficiency of these devices to return fish back to depth, underwater video, data on barotrauma, and asked anglers to weigh-in on which devices they would most likely use.


Check back often as we update the website with the results of our charters and dockside survey!