Bottom fishing closure causes unexpected hardships for Charleston businesses

(KCBY image)

CHARLESTON, Ore. -- Last month, recreational bottom fishing was closed on the south Oregon coast because quotas were reached faster than expected, and the closure has affected local businesses in Charleston.

This time of year is usually one of the best at the Charleston Marina, but the recent closure has caused unexpected hardships for some local businesses.

"The very first week that it was closed we couldn't help but notice over a 50 percent drop in our sales," said Marvin Terry with Crabby Cakes Bakery.

"We had to let all our employees go, our full-time employees, and we were going to bring some part-time guys on for the winter, but we just told them no, we can't bring them on," said Robert Gensorek with Basin Tackle.

For Betty Kay Charters, the closure meant a complete shutdown.

"We had every weekend totally booked full, right up through the end of October,” said Betty Kay’s Bill Whitmer. “All of those trips were canceled."

Bottom fishing reopened with restrictions at the beginning of the month, but some local business owners say the damage is already done.

The fishing closure threw a wrench in Whitmer's plans to retire and sell his business. "I had a couple people that were questioning about buying my business, and I haven't heard from ‘em since the closure, and probably won't."

With the slow winter months ahead, local business owners are strategizing how to make it through.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says restrictions on bottom fishing will remain until next January.

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