SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today provided additional direction to ODFW managers in reaching agreement with Washington regarding this year’s spring chinook season and re-affirmed support for the Columbia River fishery management objectives.
The commission recommended a 60/40 percent split between sport and commercial fisheries of the impacts available under the federal Endangered Species Act. This amended an earlier recommendation of a 55/45 split. The decision will lead to continued discussions with the state of Washington before a final fishing season structure is reached.
While the two states continue to negotiate on a final season structure between sport and commercial fisheries, both states have adopted several key management objectives:
- A conservation buffer to minimize the risk of exceeding impact limits on wild chinook salmon currently listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
- High probability of a 45-day sport fishery in the lower Columbia in March and April.
- A predictable sport fishery above Bonneville Dam by allocating it 25 percent of available impacts.
- A stable commercial fishery in off-channel areas such as Youngs Bay and Blind Slough, with additional commercial opportunities in the mainstem in March and April.
- Additional sport fishery in May, based on a positive mid-season run update.
“We’ll begin immediately to work with our counterparts in Washington to craft a Columbia spring chinook season based on the guidance we received today from the Commission,” said Steve Williams, ODFW deputy fish administrator.
Biologists are predicting almost 300,000 spring chinook will return to the Columbia River this year. The fishery is currently open, but spring chinook do not arrive in significant numbers until March.