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Commission meets April 20 in Salem to set ocean fishing seasons

April 16, 2012

SALEM, Ore.—The Commission will consider several issues related to 2012 ocean fisheries and wildlife management during a meeting Friday, April 20 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem, 3406 Cherry Ave NE. The meeting begins at 8 a.m. and follows this agenda.

The Commission will be asked to adopt regulations for ocean coho and chinook salmon fishing in Oregon’s territorial waters from shore to three miles out. The seasons for ocean waters beyond three miles were set by the Pacific Fishery Management Council on April 6 and the Commission will be asked to adopt similar regulations for state waters.

Thanks to continued improvements in the status of Sacramento and Klamath fall chinook, the PFMC has proposed the most liberal chinook fisheries in recent years, including larger quotas for fisheries north of Cape Falcon and more fishing days south of Cape Falcon. Managers are also predicting a strong Oregon coastal wild coho return and the opportunity for sport anglers to harvest wild coho south of Cape Falcon similar to 2011.

The proposed 2012 ocean salmon seasons are posted on the ODFW website, and are expected to be approved and implemented by NOAA Fisheries effective May 1.

The Commission will be asked to adopt 2012 sport and commercial Pacific halibut seasons that are concurrent with those recently adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The Halibut Commission has approved a 9 percent increase over last year in the sport and commercial Pacific halibut quota. In addition, the National Marine Fisheries Service has approved some changes in how the quota is allocated, shifting more fish from the Columbia River sub-area to the central coast sub-area, and moving additional fish to the nearshore fishery in the central coast sub-area.

The proposed 2012 Pacific halibut sport season are available on the ODFW website.

Finally, the Commission will be asked to set the 2012 commercial sardine season and consider a number of administrative rule changes for the commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery.

Elsewhere on the agenda, the Commission will consider an ODFW staff proposal to waive fish passage requirements for a proposed dam on Johnson Creek in Coos County.

Wildlife issues

The Commission will consider a petition to change trapping regulations from the Humane Society of the United States, Predator Defense, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society of Portland and Cascadia Wildlands. The petitioners are requesting that the regulations be changed to reduce trap check time to 24 hours (from at least once every 48 hours or more for predatory animals or damage situations); require that all traps be marked with name and phone number of trapper; not permit traps within 100 feet of a trail, campground or other premises frequented by the public; and that a sign be posted within a five-foot radius of each trap. During the meeting, the Commission may accept the petition and initiate rulemaking, deny the petition or postpone a decision until later. Under the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act, the Commission must accept or deny the petition no later than 90 days from the date of receipt of the petition (which was March 9, 2012).

The Commission will be briefed on the updated draft Oregon Black Bear Management Plan to manage the state’s estimated 25,000-30,000 black bears.  The state’s black bear population has been stable to increasing since the mid-1990s so no significant changes are proposed, but the plan reflects changes to hunting regulations, new research results, and advancements in population modeling techniques that have occurred since the last plan was adopted in 1993. The Commission will be asked to adopt the final plan at the June 7-8 Commission meeting in Salem and public comments will be accepted through that time at ODFW.Comments@state.or.us 

The Commission will be asked to adopt the goals and objectives of a revised Sauvie Island Wildlife Area Management Plan. While the Commission has looked at this plan previously, final approval was on hold while ODFW worked with hunting dog trainers and bird conservationists on strategies to maintain opportunities for hunting dog training and hunting dog field trials while conserving grassland bird habitats. 

The Commission will be asked to authorize a block grant releasing $1.35 million in federal funds for the Open Fields program. ODFW’s Access and Habitat Program plans to use the funds to increase hunting access to private lands and improve wildlife habitat on properties providing public access. Access improvement efforts will focus on goose hunting in the Willamette Valley and upland bird hunting in the Columbia Basin. Landowners interested in allowing hunting access in return for grant funds should contact Matt Keenan, 503-947-6087.  

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. 

Public testimony for issues not on the formal agenda will be held Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Persons seeking to testify on such issues 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:

Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023 / Jessica.Sall@state.or.us
Michelle Dennehy (503) 947-6022 / Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us

 
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