(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today set the 2011 sport halibut seasons for the Oregon Coast.
Oregon halibut anglers will enjoy slightly more fishing opportunity in 2011 thanks to a 12 percent increase in the harvest quota set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, according to Gway Rogers-Kirchner, ODFW marine fishery manager.
The popular central coast halibut fishery from Cape Falcon just north of Manzanita to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford, will be open inside the 40-fathom line (defined by waypoints) seven days per week, May 1 through Oct. 31 or until the 13,800-pound quota is met.
The all-depth fixed dates for the spring season are May 12-14, 26-28, June 2-4 and 9-11. Backup days are June 23-25, July 7-9 and 21-23. The spring catch limit is 115,578 pounds.
The summer season opens every other Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29 (Aug. 5-6, 19-20, Sept. 2-3, 16-17, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, and Oct. 14-15 and 28-29)or until the entire central coast, all-depth season combined (spring and summer) quota of 158,705 pounds is taken.
The spring halibut fishery for anglers out of Columbia River ports, fishing the area from Leadbetter Point, Wash., to Cape Falcon, Ore., will open May 5. The season will continue three days per week, Thursday-Saturday, through July 16 or until the 10,793-pound quota is met. The summer fishery opens Aug. 5, three days per week, Friday-Sunday, until Sept. 30 or until the spring and summer combined quota of 15,418 pounds is met.
South of Humbug Mountain the season also opens May 1 and is open seven days a week through Oct. 31.
The Commission also approved the 2011 commercial Pacific sardine fishery. The harvest guideline set by the Pacific Fishery Management Council is down 30 percent from 2010, reflecting a continuing downward trend in sardine populations.
In addition to setting halibut seasons, the Commission approved nine Access and Habitat projects worth $835,402. These grants will open 74,414 acres of private land to public hunting access and improve wildlife habitat on 1,515 additional acres.
The Commission also approved $706,114 for 16 restoration and 18 enhancement projects under the Restoration and Enhancement Program.
Finally the Commission formally adopted the temporary rules that had been in place for the 2011 sturgeon seasons on the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
The Commission, in a special teleconference meeting, today considered an abbreviated agenda of items originally scheduled for the March 11 meeting in Florence. That meeting was cancelled due to tsunami warnings on the Oregon Coast. Others items on the March 11 agenda will be considered at the April 22 meeting in Salem.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. It meets monthly.