Rule to Change: Sturgeon Retention in the Lower Columbia
New Rule Proposal: Year round, catch and release only of white sturgeon from Bonneville Dam to the mouth of the Columbia.
Why the change is needed: It is time to get serious about saving this fishery. I would rather give it up for a few years and let my kids and grandkids have a chance at enjoying the sport, than keep going the way we are and lose it forever.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change: No input given
Describe their support and/or concerns:
No input given
Submitted by: THORNBERRY, DEAN — BATTLE GROUND, WA
Date submitted: 04/26/2012
WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation
Recommended for Public Comment Reference ID: DFW181091
Rule Change Recommendation Short Title Statewide white sturgeon rules
Rules Category Statewide
Type of Rule Change Proposal Conservation
County or Location Information
Short Description This proposal modifies rules for white sturgeon that will be developed through a series of public meetings and Commission guidance for the purpose of managing harvest and fisheries. Possible options include, but are not limited to: changes in 1)areas and/or times including catch and release only; 2) size limits; 3) 2 fish annual limit; 4) terminal gear (i.e., circle hooks, etc.).
Explanation Abundance and productivity of white sturgeon inhabiting or originating from the lower Columbia River has declined substantially over the past five years due in part to long-term reductions in key food resources and predation by Steller sea lions. Washington and Oregon fishery managers responded by decreasing annual harvest guidelines in the lower Columbia River by 40% in 2010, 29% in 2011, and 39% in 2012 (74% reduction from 2009 levels). Corresponding reductions have been implemented to guidelines for Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor and a seasonal retention closure was implemented in 2012 for Puget Sound fisheries. The intent of these actions is to stabilize and rebuild the white sturgeon population. Assessments are conducted each summer to monitor population responses to management actions. Results of the surveys become available mid-fall and additional restrictions may be needed if the population does not respond as intended. Recent management actions have focused on retention seasons and no-fishing spawning sanctuaries. Changes to general statewide rules for sturgeon should be part of the suite of actions available to managers and stakeholders. Corresponding changes to sturgeon rules have been considered by Oregon and on September 7, 2012 the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a reduction in the Oregon annual bag limit to 2 fish effective January 1, 2013.