Commission sets groundfish seasons, delays Wolf Plan adoption
Friday, December 8, 2017
The bamboo fly rod of Vic Atiyeh
SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission set regulations for recreational and commercial groundfish seasons today at their meeting in Salem.
The state’s regulations are based on federal quotas. After hearing public testimony, the Commission adopted a five fish bag limit (reduced from seven this year), in hopes of providing a year-round fishery in 2018. (The 2017 bag limit design was higher at seven fish, which was not sufficient to provide for year-round fishing, prompting an early closure that disrupted coastal charter businesses and anglers.) The Commission also approved an offshore longleader fishery with a 10-fish bag limit from January-March and October-December (though an April-September season may be added if federal regulations are adopted). Longleader gear can better target offshore rockfish species and lessen pressure on nearshore black rockfish. Further in-season adjustments to groundfish seasons could happen if needed to keep under allowed harvest levels and ODFW is committed to monitoring and reporting effort and catch at more frequent intervals. The cabezon fishery will remain the same (open July 1-Dec. 31 with bag limit of one cabezon). For more details on the 2018 recreational season visit https://myodfw.com/sport-groundfish-seasons-0
ODFW staff presented a working copy of the Draft Updated Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, showing the edits staff have made to the Plan since April 2017 as a result of comments from stakeholders, the public and commissioners. A panel of representatives from Wolf Program stakeholder groups also testified about the latest Plan. The Commission decided more time was needed to work on the Plan and opted to delay adoption, so they will not be considering it at their next meeting on Jan. 19, 2018 in Salem. A new meeting date will be announced once it’s decided.
In other business, the Commission:
Denied a petition to amend freshwater angling regulations for naturally produced spring Chinook salmon in the Rogue River.
Approved a five-year culvert repair agreement between ODOT and ODFW that will allow ODOT to make critical repairs to aging culverts in a cost-effective manner without having to meet full fish passage criteria. As part of the agreement, ODOT will improve fish passage at each site and fund high priority fish passage restoration projects off the state highway