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June 19, 2003
Contact: Brad James, WDFW, (360) 906-6716
Pat Frazier, ODFW, (503) 657-2000, ext. 253

Reduction in sturgeon annual limit proposed

A proposal being considered by Oregon and Washington fishery managers that would reduce statewide annual limits for sport-caught sturgeon will be the topic of a public meeting July 14 in Vancouver, Wash.

The session, sponsored jointly by the two states, will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way in Vancouver.

The proposal would reduce the number of sport-caught sturgeon that could be kept annually from 10 fish to five. The proposed annual-limit reduction is expected to allow an increase in the number of days a year anglers may keep sturgeon. For instance, on the lower Columbia River the reduction is expected to add 10 to15 days to the non-estuary (Wauna/Cathlamet to Bonneville) retention season and about two days to the estuary (mouth to Wauna/Cathlamet) retention season under the current regulation structure.

The meeting will include discussion of the content and timing of the proposed reduction regulation, compliance and enforcement issues, potential changes to catch record card requirements, the effect on catch estimates and a possible banding requirement for kept sturgeon.

Additional information on the proposals may be obtained by contacting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Region 5 office at (360) 696-6211, or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Columbia River Management Office at (503) 657-2000, ext.253.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is to be briefed on the sturgeon annual limit proposal, and public testimony will be taken, in a hearing Aug. 1-2 in Bellingham, with a final recommendation and commission action slated for Dec. 5-6 in Port Townsend. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider the sturgeon annual limit and other sport fishing regulation changes at its Aug. 8 meeting in Astoria, Ore.