WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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October 11, 1996
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, 360-902-2256

Washington and Oregon set 1997-99 sturgeon fishing regulations

OLYMPIA -- Sport and commercial regulations for the 1997-99 sturgeon fishing season in the Columbia River and its tributaries as well as coastal areas were set today by the directors of the Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and Wildlife.

The regulations still must be adopted by the states' respective fish and wildlife commissions. Bern Shanks, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Rudy Rosen, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, determined that 80 percent of the harvestable white sturgeon in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam would be reserved for sport anglers while commercial fishers would have a 20 percent share.

The following sport fishing size and bag limits for white and green sturgeon will be in effect for the lower Columbia and its tributaries below Bonneville Dam, marine and coastal areas:

  • Fish must be at least 42 inches and no more than 60 inches in length

  • One fish per day and 10 in a year. Anglers may continue to catch and release sturgeon after retaining their daily or annual bag limit

  • Other 1996 sturgeon fishing regulations will remain in effect

White sturgeon regulations for the Columbia and its tributaries between McNary and Priest Rapids dams and the Snake River from the mouth to Lower Granite Dam are:

  • Fish must be at least 48 inches and no more than 60 inches in length

  • One fish per day and 10 in a year. Anglers may continue to catch and release sturgeon after retaining their daily or annual bag limit

  • Other 1996 sturgeon fishing regulations will remain in effect

Sturgeon fishing regulations for the section of the Columbia and its tributaries between Bonneville and McNary dams will be discussed in upcoming negotiations with Oregon and Columbia River tribes.

The directors agreed to restrict commercial fishers to harvesting white sturgeon between 48 and 60 inches in length. They also agreed commercial seasons could occur outside salmon seasons as necessary to provide fishing opportunities and maximize economic benefits.

Commercial fishers will be restricted to harvesting green sturgeon between 48 and 66 inches in length. They agreed commercial green sturgeon fishing could occur only during white sturgeon seasons.

Shanks and Rosen said they were concerned about the lack of breeding and rearing information available about green sturgeon. They directed their staffs to do more research on these fish.