West Coast Fisheries “Comeback of the Century”

NOAA Fisheries –

With help from rebounding West Coast rockfish, Giuseppe “Joe” Pennisi has put the fisherman back in San Francisco’s famed Fisherman’s Wharf.

Pennisi is the first fisherman to sell freshly caught fish off his boat at Fisherman’s Wharf in many years. He has reintroduced locals to the flaky white fish that was once a mainstay of West Coast seafood. Most weekends when the fishing is good, crowds form early at the dock next to his boat, the Pioneer, and continue all day. Some wait for hours to buy chilipepper rockfish, rose fish, boccacio and other deep-water species Pennisi brings up in his nets.

“You can’t help but be excited when you get to the dock and all these people are waiting for their fish,” he said.

The reemerging demand for rockfish reflects what may be the West Coast fisheries comeback of the century. Rapidly rebuilding stocks are reviving opportunities for determined fishermen such as Pennisi and customers of his Pioneer Seafoods. From Washington to California, a fishing fleet that sacrificed heavily while groundfish stocks rebuilt are now beginning to harvest the results.

“It really does seem like we’re turning an important corner,” said Shems Jud, who has long tracked the groundfish fishery for the Environmental Defense Fund. The rebuilding of groundfish represents a rarity among environmental issues.

Read more