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Fish and Wildlife Commission adopts ocean salmon, Pacific halibut, game bird hunting regulations; hears public testimony on Draft Wolf Plan

April 21, 2017

SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission met today in Klamath Falls. The meeting was livestreamed over Periscope and the recording can still be viewed at ODFW’s Twitter account.

ODFW staff presented a Draft Revised Wolf Management Plan at the meeting. (See a summary of major changes to the current Plan.) Nearly 40 people testified about the draft Plan. A second public meeting about the Plan has been scheduled for May 19 at the Portland Airport Embassy Suites.

The Commission set the 2017 Pacific halibut and ocean salmon and Pacific halibut seasons for Oregon’s territorial waters within three nautical miles of shore by adopting staff proposals. Due to the critically low forecast for Klamath fall Chinook, ocean Chinook fisheries off Oregon south of Cape Falcon have been sharply curtailed with no commercial troll seasons allowed south of Florence this year.

Recreational fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. harvest far fewer Chinook and will have a regular Chinook season structure, but coho seasons will be limited due to poor forecasts for several key populations. The area south of Humbug Mt. will be closed for all ocean salmon fishing with the exception of the state waters fall Chinook season at Brookings.

The Commission also adopted regulations for Pacific halibut fishing in 2017. The total 2017 catch limit will be 256,757 pounds, a 17 percent increase from 2016. There are several changes to the 2017 regulations that affect the sport fisheries:

  • For all Oregon subareas, in-season modifications to the sport halibut seasons can now be considered based on yelloweye rockfish impacts.
  • Descending devices will be mandatory for sport fishing of Pacific Halibut outside the 30 fathom curve to reduce impacts to yelloweye rockfish (similar to what was adopted for the bottomfish fishery in December 2016).
  • For the Central Coast subarea nearshore fishery (shoreward of the 40 fathom line), retention of other species of flatfish when fishing outside of the seasonal bottomfish depth restriction will be allowed. This will allow for some additional opportunities and aligns the nearshore and all-depth fishery regulations.
  • For the Central Coast subarea all-depth fishery, retention of bottomfish species is allowed if the sport bottomfish fishery is also open to all depths. This will allow anglers to retain some additional species when both fisheries are open to all depth, with minimal potential additional impacts to yelloweye rockfish.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Adopted 2017-18 Game Bird Season Regulations. There are just a few changes from last year’s regulations including: Daily bag limit for pintails reduced to one as mandated by USFWS frameworks; NW Permit Goose Zone shooting hours will begin 15 minutes earlier; edible portions for game birds now defined as being at minimum the breast for all game birds; open dates for lands east of Foothill Rd on Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area are changed (so open Wed., Sat., Sun. federal holidays Aug.1-Jan. 31) to increase hunting opportunity for game birds and elk.
  • Downlisted Borax Lake Chub from Endangered to Threatened and removed Foskett Spring Speckled Dace from the state’s List of Threatened and Endangered Species.
  • Approve funding for Access and Habitat projects that improve habitat or provide hunting access in Lincoln, Crook, Morrow, Gilliam and Umatilla counties.
  • Adopted permanent rules for issuing leftover limited Landowner Preference tags and for the transfer of controlled or limited tags from people to their terminally ill immediate family members.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon and usually meets monthly.

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy
Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us
(503) 931-2748

 
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