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December 30, 2003
Contact: Brad James, (360) 906-6716

Public meeting set to discuss Columbia River oversize sturgeon fishery

OLYMPIA – Potential regulation changes for the Columbia River oversize sturgeon catch-and-release fishery will be the topic of a public meeting Jan. 5, hosted by the Washington and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in Building 16 of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offices, 17330 S.E. Evelyn St. in Clackamas, Ore.

Biologists from both states and Oregon State University will present recent research results on the status of the oversize white sturgeon spawning population and effects of catch-and-release fishing. State fish managers also will discuss possible restrictions on the fishery and outline the public process for decision-making during the meeting.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, which directs activities of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is scheduled to consider restrictions on the oversize sturgeon fishery as part of the annual sportfishing rules package in its Feb. 6-7 meeting in Olympia. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission also is expected to consider restrictions on the fishery in February.

New restrictions to the catch-and-release fishery are being considered to reduce injury and mortality to oversize sturgeon. Research has focused on the status of the adult spawning population and how it is impacted by current catch-and-release fishing. Between 2,800 and 5,300 adult sturgeon are caught and released each year during the May-to-July fishery in the Columbia River Gorge.

Oversize sturgeon—longer than 60 inches and sometimes topping 300 pounds—take 20 years to reach reproductive age and can live to be older than 100 years.