Conservationists Worry Halibut Boom Means Overharvest

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco Bay area conservationists say
they're worried that the sharp decline in several fish species is leading to an overharvest of still-abundant halibut.

Saltwater anglers with few other options have swarmed San Francisco Bay area waters this spring to haul in thousands of the
popular flatfish.

The boom comes after regulators canceled the spring salmon season due to a precarious drop in chinook. Officials have also shortened the lingcod and rockfish seasons by months.

John Beuttler of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance says he would like to see recreational anglers limited to two halibut per day instead of three.

California Department of Fish and Game marine biologist Travis Tanaka says more data is still needed to assess the impact of increased fishing on the halibut population.

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-06-15-08 1516EDT

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