April 25, 2014
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission set the 2014 sport and commercial halibut seasons during its meeting today in North Bend.
The Pacific halibut seasons set today are concurrent with those recently adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service, and are similar to 2013 seasons. Though the 2014 U.S. West Coast halibut quota is essentially the same as last year, Oregon anglers will notice four changes that affect sport fisheries:
- In the Columbia River subarea, the open days will be Thursday through Sunday during the all-depth season – an expansion of the Friday through Sunday open days last year.
- Also in the Columbia River subarea, a nearshore fishery has been established to allow more groundfish anglers to retain incidental catches of halibut.
- In the Central Coast subarea, the nearshore fishery will start July 1 and be open seven days a week. This compares to the 2013 season that started May 1 for three days a week. The goal is to provide more fishing opportunity in July when all-depth fisheries are generally closed.
- The former South of Humbug subarea has been separated at the Oregon and California border, and the Oregon portion is now known as the Southern Oregon subarea. This will allow the Oregon and California fisheries to be managed separately. As with all other subareas, the Southern Oregon subarea will now close once the quota has been attained.
The final 2014 Pacific halibut sport seasons are on the ODFW website.
The Commission was also briefed on the draft Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan, which describes the conservation status and management actions for the majority of trout, salmon and steelhead populations on the Oregon Coast.
According to Tom Stahl, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program manager, this plan proposes some key changes to improve both conservation and fishing, without making drastic, across the board changes in fish management. “Right now, most coastal fish populaltions and fisheries are in good shape. We want to make them even better, as well as avoid any crisis on either front in the future".
This is the third draft of the plan, and like the first two it has been developed with an extensive public input process. The Commission is scheduled to consider adoption of a final plan at the June 2014 meeting in Salem.
The Commission heard a citizen petition to modify the state’s wildlife integrity rules to allow the possession and rearing of barramundi, and directed staff to develop rules for consideration at a future meeting.
Finally, the Commission approved $559,076.50 for three restoration and nine enhancement projects recommended by the Restoration and Enhancement Board.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission is held
Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making 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.