PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting a catch-sharing plan for sport and commercial fisheries on the lower Columbia River at a public meeting on Friday, Dec. 12 in Portland.
The meeting, which includes an opportunity for public comment, begins at 8 a.m. in the Oak Room at Embassy Suites Portland Airport, 7900 NE 82nd Avenue. An agenda for the meeting is available on ODFW’s website:
On Thursday, Dec 11, the Commission will meet with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to discuss recommendations developed by a joint working group for apportioning harvest opportunities for spring and summer chinook salmon between sport and commercial fisheries in the lower river.
At the joint meeting, the commissions will also hear recommendations on longer range issues, including salmon recovery, selective fisheries and hatchery reform. The meeting begins at 12:30 and is also in the Oak Room at Embassy Suites Portland Airport.
A lunch is scheduled for both commissions on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The Water’s Grill restaurant, Pine Room II, first floor of the Embassy Suites hotel. Members of the public are welcome to join but must purchase their own meals.
While Thursday’s joint meeting is open to the public, public testimony will not be taken until Friday, when Oregon Commissioners will vote on whether or not to adopt the recommended plan. (The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider the plan on Saturday, Dec. 13—see meeting agenda).
About the Columbia River spring/summer chinook five-year plan
The five-year plan was developed by the Columbia River Fish Working Group. This advisory group included three fish and wildlife commissioners from Washington and three commissioners from Oregon to serve as voting members. Non-voting members include two fishery managers from each state and a total of 10 citizen representatives from communities on both sides of the Columbia River. Citizen representatives were chosen by their respective commissions for their breath of experience with Columbia River fisheries.
The plan is designed to bring some level of stability to what has been a historically unpredictable fishery while still meeting conservation goals. To do this the Working Group recommended several guiding principles in making the chinook allocation:
- A high likelihood that there will be at least a 45-day sport fishery in March and April.
- Provide a stable commercial fishery in the select areas – off channel fisheries in places like Youngs Bay and Blind Slough. Most of the fish entering these areas are hatchery fish and potential impacts on wild, endangered spring chinook are minimal.
- A high likelihood that that the Columbia River sport fisheries above Bonneville Dam and into the lower Snake River will not be subject to emergency closures.
- Provides mainstem commercial fishing opportunity in most years.
To meet these management objectives, fishery managers will use a sharing formula that bases the allocation between sport and commercial fisheries on the strength of the spring chinook runs on both the upper Columbia and Willamette River fisheries.
In addition, the group recommended a 35 percent conservation buffer to minimize the risk of exceeding federal Endangered Species Act limits on the take of wild chinook.
Other Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission business
During its Friday meeting, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be asked to appoint a hunter representative and chair to the Access and Habitat program Board of Directors. The A&H program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses and provides grants to open up public hunting access or improve wildlife habitat on private land. The Commission will also consider funding two separate projects recommended by regional A&H boards.
The Commission will consider amending the falconry rules to make minor house-keeping changes and allow lottery-draw permits for the limited take of nestling “eyas” peregrine falcons by Master Falconers during the 2009 season. The Commission first authorized the take of nestling “eyas” in February 2008, after peregrine falcons were de-listed from Oregon’s Endangered Species Act.
The Commission will be asked to adopt amended rules for the Developmental Fisheries Program and set the 2009 Developmental Fisheries Species List per statutory requirement.
The Commission will be briefed on the 25-Year Angling Enhancement Plan, a framework to guide ODFW’s efforts to enhance recreational fishing opportunities over the next 25 years.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. Agenda item exhibits may be requested by calling the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.
Members of the public wishing to testify on an issue not on the formal agenda can do so Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Please make arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.