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Fish and Wildlife Commission hear Columbia River Fisheries Reform update and recommendations

November 9, 2016

SALEM, Ore.— The Fish and Wildlife Commission received an update today on research, evaluation and implementation of the Commission’s Columbia River fisheries reform policy, as well as adaptive management recommendations moving forward.

Staff presented results from the transition period and recommend adjustments needed moving forward to best meet the overall objectives and principles of Columbia River Fisheries Reform.

The Commission heard from two separate panels, each representing commercial and sportfishing interests.  The Commission also heard testimony from more than 30 members of the public who shared their concerns regarding the fishery reform update and recommendations.

The Commission directed staff to refine some of the economic models and present that information to the Commission in December as part of a Director’s Report (no rule making). They also decided to conduct rulemaking in December, but only in respect to the reform transition deadlines targeting early 2017 for final rulemaking on the overall Columbia River fisheries reform.

The Commission adopted administrative rules in December 2012 implementing guiding principles and management strategies for a new fisheries framework for lower Columbia River to:

  • Maintain or enhance the overall economic viability of commercial and recreational fisheries;
  • Optimize overall economic benefits to the State
  • Promote conservation of native fish; and
  • Promote orderly and concurrent fisheries with the State of Washington.

Key elements of the Columbia River Reform include shifting allocations to provide a stronger recreational priority in the mainstem, enhancing off-channel hatchery releases to augment commercial harvest, limiting gill nets to off-channel fisheries, developing alternative gears and techniques for commercial mainstem fisheries, and strengthening conservation of native fish.

The Commission mandated a transition period until 2016 for phasing in reform actions and allowing feedback on the effectiveness and economic outcome of actions prior to long term implementation.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. 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.

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.

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Contact:

Chris Kern, 503 947-6209
chris.j.kern@state.or.us
Rick Hargrave, 503 947-6020
richard.j.hargrave@state.or.us

 
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