Commission extends red abalone closure, delists Borax Lake Chub

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to extend the current closure of the recreational abalone fishery for three years as a precaution.

Recent surveys show a continued trend toward decline in Oregon’s population of red abalone due to poor environmental conditions. Extension of the closure will allow time to monitor habitat conditions and conduct additional underwater surveys to assess changes in the index populations located along the southern Oregon coast. The three-year extension will also allow time to make progress toward an improved understanding about the abalone populations in Oregon and a regional management framework for the recreational abalone fishery.

The Commission also removed Borax Lake Chub from the State List of Threatened and Endangered Species while directing staff to consider adding it to the State Sensitive Species List. Borax Lake chub are a unique minnow found only in Oregon’s Borax Lake and its surrounding wetlands (in the Alvord Desert of Harney County). Threats to their habitat, the primary reason for listing, have been addressed or removed thanks to natural resource agencies and their partners. Borax Lake Chub were downlisted from “Endangered” to “Threatened” on the State List in April 2017 and formally removed from the Federal ESA list in July 2020.

Finally, Commissioners appointed several people to the Commercial Fishery Permit Board (see list online in Draft Motion section of agenda item). The Board reviews limited entry permit renewal and transfer denials made by ODFW for certain commercial fisheries.

Commissioners also heard an update on the population status of lower Columbia River white sturgeon and a review of 2020 sturgeon fisheries.

A taped recording of the online meeting is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lmlsIjCN7g&feature=emb_logo.

The Commission’s next meeting is March 19.