ODFW Commission sets 2017 groundfish regulations

SALEM — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission heard an update from ODFW staff today on the ongoing analysis related to Columbia River Fisheries Reform policy, and voted to extend the policy’s transition period an additional year through Dec. 31, 2017. The extension will allow for more consideration by Commission members and consultation with management partners. The Commission will consider the reform policy again, including actions for 2017 fisheries and beyond, at their Jan. 20, 2017 in Salem.

The Commission also set 2017 groundfish regulations. For the recreational angler, the new regulations will require all groundfish anglers to have a descending device on board the vessel, and will require its use for all rockfish released outside of 30 fathoms.

The seven fish marine bag limit will remain in place, with these adjustments for 2017:

Create a sub-bag limit of six black rockfish.
Remove the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish.
Add China/quillback/copper rockfishes to the sub-bag limit with blue/Deacon rockfish and change the limit from three to four fish.
Remove the 10-inch minimum size for kelp greenling.
Related to the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board, the Commission:

Appointed Kay Brown of Columbia City to the represent the public-at-large. Brown is a lifelong resident of Oregon and retired in 2003 after a 30-year career with ODFW.

The Commission also approved expenditures of $103,885 for six enhancement projects approved by the R&E Board in September.

The Commission also made several appointments to the statewide Access and Habitat Board. Craig Ely of La Grande was appointed Chair and David Stiefvater of Ontario was reappointed as the Board’s Hunter Representative. Finally, Commissioners heard an information briefing on recent changes to the state’s Sensitive Species List.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. It usually meets monthly. Its next meeting is Jan. 20 in Salem.