SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets April 21 in Klamath Falls at the Running Y Ranch, 500 Running Y Road. The meeting starts at 8 a.m. and follows this agenda http://www.dfw.state.or.us/
ODFW staff will present the 2016 Annual Wolf Report and Draft Revised Wolf Management Plan at the meeting. The Annual Report will be presented during the Director’s Report (first agenda item) while the Draft Plan will be the last agenda item discussed by the Commission. Public testimony about wolves will be taken only during the Draft Plan portion of the meeting. For more information, see earlier news release. Note that both agenda items are informational only; the Draft Plan will not be considered for adoption at this meeting. A second public meeting about the Draft Revised Wolf Management Plan has been scheduled for May 19 in Portland.
The Commission will be asked to set the 2017 Pacific halibut and ocean salmon and Pacific halibut seasons for Oregon’s territorial waters within three nautical miles of shore. The seasons in ocean waters beyond three miles already have been set by the Pacific Management Council, and the Commission will consider adopting those same regulations for state waters, and additional consideration for special fall Chinook seasons at Port Orford and Brookings.
Due to the critically low forecast for Klamath fall Chinook, the proposed ocean Chinook fisheries off Oregon south of Cape Falcon have been sharply curtailed with no commercial troll seasons allowed south of Florence this year.
Recreational fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. harvest far fewer Chinook and will have a regular Chinook season structure, but coho seasons will be limited due to poor forecasts for several key populations. The area south of Humbug Mt. will be closed for all ocean salmon fishing with the exception of the state waters fall Chinook season at Brookings.
The proposed ODFW ocean salmon seasons have been posted on the ODFW website at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/
For Pacific halibut, the total 2017 catch limit will be 256,757 pounds, a 17 percent increase from 2016. There are several changes to the 2017 regulations that affect the sport fisheries:
- For all Oregon subareas, in-season modifications to the sport halibut seasons may be considered based on yelloweye rockfish impacts. Previously, in-season modifications to sport halibut seasons were only allowed based on catch of halibut.
- For the Central Coast subarea nearshore fishery (shoreward of the 40 fathom line), retention of other species of flatfish when fishing outside of the seasonal bottomfish depth restriction is allowed. This would allow for some additional opportunities and aligns the nearshore and all-depth fishery regulations.
- For the Central Coast subarea all-depth fishery, retention of bottomfish species would be allowed if the sport bottomfish fishery is also open to all depths. This would allow anglers to retain some additional species when both fisheries are open to all depth, with minimal potential additional impacts to yelloweye rockfish.
- Finally, the staff will recommend that descending devices be mandatory for sport fishing of Pacific Halibut, similar to what was adopted for the bottomfish fishery in December 2016.
The proposed 2017 Pacific halibut seasons be posted on the ODFW website athttp://www.dfw.state.or.us/
In other business, the Commission will:
- Adopt 2017-18 Game Bird Season Regulations. There are just a few changes from last year proposed including: Reduce daily bag limit for pintails to one as mandated by USFWS frameworks; open NW Permit Goose Zone shooting hours 15 minutes earlier; revise regulation for waste of game birds by defining edible portions as being at minimum the breast for all game birds; change open dates for lands east of Foothill Rd on Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area to increase hunting opportunity for game birds and elk (so open Wed., Sat., Sun. federal holidays Aug.1-Jan. 31).
- Consider removing Foskett Spring Speckled Dace and Borax Lake Chub from the state’s List of Threatened and Endangered Species. Both have been the focus of substantial recovery actions since the time of their listing in the late 1980s.
- Approve funding for Access and Habitat projects that improve habitat or provide hunting access.
- Adopt temporary to permanent rules for issuing leftover limited Landowner Preference tags and for the transfer of controlled or limited tags from people to their terminally ill immediate family members.
On Thursday April 20, Commissioners will tour the J.C. Boyle Dam to discuss the Klamath River; Johnson Prairie on Hwy 66 to discuss wolf management; and the Running Y Ranch to learn about Klamath Basin Red Band Trout and Suckers. Members of the public can join the tour but must provide their own transportation. Meet at the Green Springs Inn, 11470 Hwy 66, Ashland on Thursday no later than 1 p.m. to join the tour.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon.