[ODFW-News] Commission limits harm to wild steelhead in Columbia River during spring fishery

ODFW News Odfw.News at STATE.OR.US
Sat Feb 12 13:30:18 PST 2005

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 	
Contact: Anne Pressentin Young, 503-657-2000, Ext. 285
Internet: www.dfw.state.or.us  Fax: (503) 657-2050	

For Immediate Release	Friday, Feb. 11, 2005

Commission limits harm to wild steelhead in Columbia River during
spring fishery

TROUTDALE - The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday directed
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Lindsay Ball to manage
the incidental loss of wild steelhead to less than 2 percent of the run
during the Columbia River commercial spring chinook fishery. 

The move comes on the heels of Washington's decision last Saturday to
increase the incidental catch of wild steelhead on the shared waterway
up to 4 percent of the total run. Officials from both agencies will meet
soon to discuss the direction provided from their respective

The increased commercial impact rate was proposed in an effort to
maximize harvest of Willamette Basin hatchery spring chinook salmon as
they travel up the Columbia River. Fresh spring chinook are highly
valued for their flavor. 

"Increasing rates this year could send the wrong message to the many
groups working toward conservation of steelhead and their habitat,"
said Commission Chair Marla Rae. "While federal fishery managers said
we could raise the limit as high as 6 percent without compromising the
steelhead, 2 percent is consistent with the standard that has been in
place since 1998."

Commercial fishers will continue to use their selective harvest
techniques, including modified nets and "recovery boxes" to revive
steelhead and wild chinook incidentally taken in commercial operations.
ODFW biologists will monitor fish impacts throughout the season to
minimize steelhead encounters and optimize catch-and-release survival. 

The Commission also approved the 2005 Columbia River sport fishing
regulations offered last week during the Columbia River Compact and
Joint State proceedings. The Compact annually establishes harvest
targets and season dates for spring chinook, sturgeon and shad on the
shared boundary waters. 
The Commission also approved Friday a measure requiring sport anglers
who lose their harvest tags to have them replaced at ODFW offices. 

Historically, hunters and anglers have been allowed to obtain
replacement tags at any license outlet, for a nominal cost. In recent
years, however, the number of duplicate tags issued has increased

Between 1992-1998, replacement harvest tags averaged near 1 percent of
all license sales. Replacement tag sales now represent approximately 3
percent of sales. The surge in reported lost harvest tags began as state
fishery managers implemented tighter annual bag limits for sturgeon,
salmon, steelhead and halibut. 

Last year, more than 6,000 Oregon anglers requested duplicate tags. Law
enforcement authorities said the licensing process, which relies on the
honor system, makes it very difficult for law enforcement to investigate
or prosecute fraudulent duplicate license requests.

The Commission's decision means all anglers who lose their harvest
tags must visit an ODFW office for replacement tags. Those who lose
their licenses can still obtain replacements at point-of-sale outlets.
Anglers requesting duplicate harvest tags will be required to sign an
affidavit, acknowledging that providing false information is subject to
penalty under state law. All duplicate tag requests will be recorded in
ODFW's licensing database.


Information and Education Division
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(503) 947-6002

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