Ocean fishing seasons set

By Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission set ocean fishing seasons for salmon and halibut during its meeting in Salem.

The Commission set the 2012 ocean salmon seasons for Oregon’s territorial waters that extend three miles from the state’s shoreline. They mirror the regulations adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council on April 6 that cover ocean waters from three to 200 miles from the state’s shore. The regulations must also be approved by the National Marine Fishery Service and the Secretary of Commerce.

Thanks to improved stocks from the Klamath and Sacramento rivers, both sport and commercial anglers in the area south of Cape Falcon will enjoy up to three or four weeks more fishing than in 2011.

Here is a summary of the upcoming ocean salmon sport seasons:

The Columbia River area, from Leadbetter Point, Wash. to Cape Falcon:

Selective chinook season open June 9 – 22 or until the catch quota of 8,000 marked chinook is reached. The daily bag limit is two chinook with a healed adipose fin clip. No coho may be retained.
Selective coho and chinook season open June 23 through Sept. 30 or until an 11,000 chinook and 34,860 marked coho quota is reached. The bag limit is two salmon per day, but no more than one chinook, and all coho must have a healed adipose fin clip.

From Cape Falcon just north of Manzanita to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford:

Chinook season runs from March 15 through Oct. 31 with a bag limit of two salmon, closed to the retention of coho except during the selective and non-selective coho seasons.
Selective coho season open July 1- 31 or until 8,000 marked coho quota for Cape Falcon to Calif. border
Non-selective coho open three days a week (Thursday through Saturday) Sept. 1-22 or 10,000 coho quota

South of Humbug Mountain to the Oregon/California border:

season runs from is May 1 through Sept. 9.
Selective coho will be open July 1-31 or until 8,000 marked coho quota for Cape Falcon to Calif. Border.

A map outlining the 2012 ocean salmon seasons approved by the Commission is posted on the ODFW website.

The Commission also adopted 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.

For the second year in a row, Oregon halibut anglers will enjoy slightly more fishing opportunity thanks to a 9 percent increase in the harvest quota. Anglers also will see some of this quota shifted into popular fisheries in the central coast sub area.
Leadbetter Point, Wash., to Cape Falcon:

All-Depth Seasons have a combined quota of 11,985 pounds. Spring: Open three days a week (Thursday –Saturday) May 3 to July 15 or until the quota 9,516 pounds is met. Summer: Open three days a week (Friday-Sunday), Aug. 3 to Sept. 30 or until remaining quota is met.

Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain:

Nearshore Season (inside 40-fathom line) open seven days a week from May 1 to Oct. 31, or until harvest quota of 23,014 pounds is met.
All-Depth Seasons have a combined quota of 168,766 pounds. Spring dates: May 10-12, May 17-19, May 24-26, and May 31-June 2. Backup days are June 14-16, June 28-30, July 12-14, and July 26-28. Spring quota is 120,821 lbs. Summer dates: every other Friday and Saturday( Aug. 3-4, Aug. 17-18, Aug. 31-Sept 1, Sept. 14-15, Sept. 28-29, Oct. 12-13, Oct. 26-27) until the quota is reached.

South of Humbug Mountain:

The season will be open seven days a week from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Additional details of the 2012 Pacific halibut sport season are available on the ODFW website

The Commission set the harvest levels and allocations for the 2012 commercial sardine seasons. After two years of declining harvest levels, sardine population estimates are on an upswing, which is reflected in a larger quota for 2012. The Commission also removed the landing requirement for sardine permit renewals.

ODFW staff also presented a number of administrative rule changes for the commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery that were adopted by the Commission.

Finally, the Commission considered a request from the Bandon Cranberry Water Control District to waive fish passage requirements for a proposed dam on Johnson Creek in Coos County. Members of the Commission voted to table the request until staff and project proponents could provide further analysis and information.

Wildlife issues

The Commission denied a petition to change trapping regulations but directed ODFW staff to consider the issues raised in the petition during the regular trapping regulation setting process. Trapping regulations for 2012-13 are already scheduled to be set by the Commission at their June 7-8 meeting in Salem and accepting the petition would have opened a parallel rule-making process.

The petition was from the Humane Society of the United States, Predator Defense, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society of Portland and Cascadia Wildlands. It requested that regulations be changed to reduce trap check time to 24 hours (from at least once every 48 hours for furbearers 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.

The Commission was 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 the plan proposes no significant changes in management approaches, but it does reflect changes to hunting regulations, new research results, and advancements in population monitoring 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 [email protected]

The Commission approved the goals and objectives of a revised Sauvie Island Wildlife Area Management Plan. While the Commission had 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. Hunting dog trials will not see any changes until spring 2013 at the earliest.

The Commission authorized 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. The next meeting is a conference call scheduled for May 10. More information on how to dial in and listen to the meeting will be available in early May.

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