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Commission to set ocean fishing seasons and discuss the status of wolves

April 17, 2015

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will set ocean salmon and Pacific halibut seasons and discuss the status of wolves when it meets in Bend on April 24.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. at Deschutes National Forest Office, 63095 Deschutes Market Rd., Bend, OR 97701. See the full meeting agenda here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/15/04_April/index.asp

The Commission will be asked to set the 2015 ocean salmon and Pacific halibut seasons for Oregon’s territorial waters from shore to three miles out. The seasons in ocean waters beyond three miles already have been set by the Pacific Management Council, and the Commission will consider similar regulations for state waters. In addition, recreational and commercial troll fall Chinook salmon target fisheries in state waters only will be considered for waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay, the Elk River, and the Chetco River.

Due to another year of strong returns of Sacramento and Klamath fall Chinook salmon stocks, ocean Chinook seasons south of Cape Falcon are similar to the relatively robust seasons of recent years. The proposed 2015 ocean salmon seasons are listed on the ODFW Website.

For Pacific halibut, the total 2015 catch limit will be 970,000 pounds, one percent more than in 2014. There are a few changes to the 2015 regulations that affect the sport fisheries:

  • A shift of some harvest allocations from the Columbia River Subarea (north of Cape Falcon) and to the Southern Oregon Subarea to better match allocations with recent effort and catches.
  • In the Columbia River Subarea the all-depth fishery is combined into a single season beginning in May and running four days a week through September, or until the harvest allocation is attained. Also in this area, the nearshore fishery allocation is reduced to 500 pounds.
  • In the area north of Humbug Mt., retention of other flatfish species (such as flounder, sole and sanddabs) when Pacific Halibut are on board is allowed.

The proposed 2015 Pacific halibut seasons are posted on the ODFW Website.

Also, the Commission will be asked to appoint three new members to the Fish Screening Task Force –one to represent agriculture and two to represent fishing/fish conservation. The seven-person task force is appointed by the Commission to advise ODFW staff on fish screening program development, funding and project prioritization.

ODFW staff will present its Biological Status Review for the Gray Wolf in Oregon to the Commission. The state’s Wolf Plan calls for initiating a process to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act when Oregon reaches the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon. This objective was met in early 2015.

The Commission will use the Biological Status Review to evaluate whether to move forward with a delisting process. If they decide to do so, a final decision is still several months away, as delisting requires a public process.

“Wolves are a success story in Oregon. Their population is growing and their range is expanding,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “The state’s Wolf Plan has measures to protect wolves into the future should the Commission decide to initiate a delisting process.”

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony for topics not on the agenda 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:

Jessica Sall, Jessica.Sall@state.or.us., (503) 947-6023
Michelle Dennehy, Michelle.D.Dennehy@state.or.us., (503) 931-2748

 
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