The Commission set the 2017 Pacific halibut and ocean salmon and Pacific halibut seasons for Oregon’s territorial waters within three nautical miles of shore by adopting staff proposals. Due to the critically low forecast for Klamath fall Chinook, 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 Commission also adopted regulations for Pacific halibut fishing in 2017. 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 can now be considered based on yelloweye rockfish impacts.
- Descending devices will be mandatory for sport fishing of Pacific Halibut outside the 30 fathom curve to reduce impacts to yelloweye rockfish (similar to what was adopted for the bottomfish fishery in December 2016).
- 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 will be allowed. This will 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 is allowed if the sport bottomfish fishery is also open to all depths. This will allow anglers to retain some additional species when both fisheries are open to all depth, with minimal potential additional impacts to yelloweye rockfish.