Oregon to vote Friday on Columbia River fisheries reform

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PORTLAND — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider a massive overhaul of lower Columbia River sport and commercial salmon fishing rules when its meets at 8 a.m. Friday at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn, 8439 N.E. Columbia Blvd.

The panel will consider the recommendations of the Columbia River workgroup which calls for removing non-tribal gillnets from the main lower Columbia by 2017 and transitioning to alternative gear such as beach and purse seines.

Hatchery production of coho, spring chinook and fall chinook will be increased in off-channel areas to offset the loss of mainstream fisheries.

As part of the plan, the Oregon commission also will consider:

• A 2013 closure of all sturgeon retention in most state waters. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon would remain open.

• A barbless hook requirement when fishing for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and several tributaries.

• A sport-fishing closure near the entrance of Youngs Bay at Astoria.

The meeting will be video streamed at www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/12/06_jun/index.asp.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hear public testimony on the same topic Dec. 14-15 in Olympia and make a decision on Jan. 11-12.