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Commission prohibits use of light boats in market squid fishery

March 17, 2023

SALEM, Ore.—The Commission voted unanimously to prohibit the use of light boats in the market squid fishery today. The rule was filed with the Secretary of State this afternoon and is now in effect.

Light boats are operated independently of squid catching vessels to attract squid to the surface at night, making the squid easier to catch. Back in February 2022, the Commission directed ODFW staff to develop a proposal to prohibit light boats in the commercial market squid fishery due to concerns about sustainability of the resource and conflicts over light boats.

The Commission made the decision after hearing testimony from several commercial fishermen both for and against the use of light boats. They also heard about the results of a survey of the Market Squid Advisory Panel and other commercial fishermen. The survey found strong opinions both for and against the use of light boats in the squid fishery.

The new rules also adopt a definition of seine skiffs (used by purse seine vessels for squid and other coastal pelagic species) in OARs to differentiate them from light boats and clarify that seine skiffs are required to obtain a commercial fishing boat license.

The Commission also directed staff to return sometime next year with an interim report about the market squid fishery and potential qualifications to make this a limited entry fishery. Back in February 2022, Commissioners set Jan. 1, 2022 as a control date should they consider a limited entry fishery in the future (meaning only boats participating prior to Jan. 1, 2022 could be eligible).

Market squid is a relatively new commercial fishery in Oregon but it is growing in popularity. Ocean conditions heavily influence their abundance, with warmer waters tending to result in more market squid and higher success in the fishery.

In other business, the Commission:

Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF): Approved expenditures from the OCRF, including for a project that would use social science to reduce conflict and enable coexistence between people and beavers.

Access and Habitat Program (A&H): Approved project funding recommended by the A&H Board that will improve habitat or allow hunting access on properties in Morrow and Baker counties, continue OSP enforcement of five Travel Management Areas and extend the Willamette Private Lands and East Lane TMA projects through June 30, 2025. The Commission also appointed Ron Borisch of Lyons as Landowner Representative to the Board.

The Commission was also briefed on results from the Oregon Connectivity Assessment and Mapping Project (OCAMP), a recently-completed collaborative effort to analyze and map statewide wildlife habitat connectivity for 54 species. Information from OCAMP is foundational to ODFW's ability to plan for and respond to the impacts of climate change on terrestrial species and will be a great tool for other natural resource agencies and organizations. They also heard about future updates and enhancements to ODFW's electronic licensing system, which has helped shift online sales from 9 percent to 58 percent of total sales since it was launched in late 2018.

The next Commission meeting is April 20-21 in Welches, Ore.



Michelle Dennehy, (503) 931-2748,

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