SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife will meet Friday, Dec. 8 in Salem at ODFW Headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE. The meeting starts at 8 a.m. and follows this agenda, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/17/12_dec/index.asp
The meeting will be livestreamed on ODFW’s Periscope and Twitter accounts.
During the Director’s report at the beginning of the meeting, ODFW staff will present a working copy of the Draft Updated Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. This copy shows the edits staff have made to the Plan since April 2017 as a result of comments from stakeholders, the public and Commissioners.
A panel of representatives from Wolf Program stakeholder groups has also been invited to testify at the meeting, but no other public testimony about wolves will be taken. After the Dec. 8 meeting, ODFW staff plans to complete any additional edits and present the Plan for final adoption and rule-making at the Jan. 19, 2018 Commission meeting in Salem.
The Commission will set 2018 regulations for nearshore recreational and commercial groundfish fisheries. These are based on federal regulations. Black rockfish are the primary driver of Oregon’s marine fish bag limits in 2018 and next year’s allowed harvest level will decrease slightly from 2017.
The 2017 recreational groundfish bag limit design did not provide year-round fishing, prompting an early closure due to quota attainment that disrupted coastal charter businesses and anglers. To try to avoid a similar disruption in 2018, ODFW staff have been meeting with stakeholders to determine the best management approach to provide sustainable harvest opportunities and maximize chances for a year-round season.
Based on feedback from stakeholders, staff are proposing seasonal bag limit changes while still allowing for a year-round fishery. Also under consideration are alternatives to shorten the season, in order to maintain a larger bag limit. The proposal recommended by ODFW staff calls for a daily bag limit of four marine fish from April-September (the busiest part of the season) and six marine fish from October-March, down from a year-round bag limit of seven fish in 2017.
The cabezon fishery will remain the same (open July 1-Dec. 31 or quota attainment, with a sub-bag limit of one). ODFW staff are also recommending to continue offering the offshore long-leader bag limit of ten fish. For more details including other options for groundfish bag limits and season dates, see Agenda Item F.
In other business, the Commission will be asked to:
Consider a petition to change fishing regulations and allow for wild spring Chinook retention one month earlier than currently allowed in the lower and middle Rogue River. Spring Chinook management and harvest is managed under the Rogue Spring Chinook Salmon Conservation Plan which is currently under review.
Approve a five-year culvert repair agreement between ODOT and ODFW that will allow ODOT to make critical repairs to aging culverts in a cost-effective manner without having to meet full fish passage criteria, which would be prohibitively expensive. As part of the agreement, ODOT would also fund high priority fish passage restoration projects off the state highway system to offset delayed passage at culvert repair locations.
Appoint a fishing representative and a Tribal representative to the Oregon Coordination Council for Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia plus two representatives to the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Commission.
Appoint new representatives to the Restoration and Enhancement Board and approve funding for several R&E projects, which improve fisheries or recreational fishing opportunities.
Per direction of the Oregon State Legislature, make a rule change to the Mentored Youth Hunter Program to extend the maximum age for youth to participate from 13 to 15. (This program is aimed at recruiting new hunters by allowing youth to hunt with a mentor without first passing a hunter education class.)
Adopt permanent rules to implement Ballot Measure 100/HB 2576 (the Wildlife Trafficking Prevention Act which made it illegal to purchase, sell or exchange elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, marine and leatherback turtles, sharks and rays).
Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.