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Commission sets guidelines for chinook salmon, sturgeon seasons
 
February 4, 2011

 

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today set the guidelines ODFW staff will use when deciding the upcoming spring chinook and sturgeon seasons in the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

Managers are predicting over 300,000 spring chinook will return to the mouth of the Columbia River this year – 198,000 destined for the upper Columbia River and 104,000 headed for the Willamette River basin.

The Commission did not consider specific season options for chinook, but were briefed on alternatives for the fishery below Bonneville Dam that balance the total number of fishing days with at least some opportunity to fish the Columbia River above the I-5 Bridge.

The Commission also considered white sturgeon fisheries in the Columbia and Willamette. The Commission endorsed a combined harvest quota of 17,000, a 29 percent reduction from last year. Staff recommended the harvest reduction in response to a continued decline in legal-sized sturgeon abundance.

This year’s harvest reduction follows a 2010 action that reduced the total harvest of sturgeon by 40 percent from the previous year.

“We are concerned about recent declines in the sturgeon population,” said Tony Nigro, ODFW program manager. “Therefore, we’re being quite conservative in setting the harvest levels.”

In the Willamette, the Commission considered both spring and fall seasons for sturgeon retention and directed staff to place the highest priority on the spring season.

Spring chinook and sturgeon seasons on the Columbia will be set at the Columbia River Compact meeting on Feb. 8. ODFW will announce Willamette River sturgeon seasons the week of Feb. 7.

Greater Sage-Grouse
Download a high resolution version from ODFW’s website

The Commission appointed Tony Stroda to represent agricultural interests on the ODFW Fish Screening Task Force. Stroda is a fourth generation farmer on the Long Tom River near Junction City who has first hand experience participating in the fish screen cost share program.

The Commission ratified temporary rules, including one related to dog training.

The Commission was also updated on the Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Assessment and Strategy. The Commission will consider approval of the Strategy at the April 22, 2011 Commission meeting in Salem. Staff will continue to work with constituent groups until that time and public comment will be taken through the April meeting.

Finally, the Commission selected a spruce grouse painting by Jon Ren of Princeton, W.Va. as the winner of the 2011 Upland Game Bird Stamp art contest. Ren will be awarded $3,000 while ODFW will retain exclusive rights to his artwork. Ren also won last year for his depiction of a sage-grouse.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. It meets monthly. The next meeting is scheduled for March 11, 2011 in Florence.

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Contact:

Rick Hargrave (503) 947-6020
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

 
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