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Commission sets 2014 halibut season

SALEM – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission set the 2014 sport and commercial halibut seasons during its meeting today in North Bend.

The Pacific halibut seasons set are concurrent with those adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Oregon anglers will notice changes that affect sport fisheries

• In the Columbia River subarea, the open days will be Thursday through Sunday during the all-depth season – an expansion of the Friday through Sunday open days last year.

• Also in the Columbia River subarea, a nearshore fishery has been established to allow more groundfish anglers to retain incidental catches of halibut.

• In the Central Coast subarea, the nearshore fishery will start July 1 and be open seven days a week.

This compares to 2013, which started May 1 for three days a week.

The goal is to provide more fishing opportunity in July when all-depth fisheries are closed.

• The former South of Humbug subarea has been separated at the Oregon and California border, and the Oregon portion is now known as the Southern subarea.

The Commission was also briefed on the draft Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan, which describes the conservation status and management actions for the majority of trout, salmon and steelhead populations on the Oregon Coast.

This plan proposes changes to improve both conservation and fishing, without making drastic, across the board changes in fish management.

The Commission heard a citizen petition to modify the state’s wildlife integrity rules to allow the possession and rearing of barramundi, and directed staff to develop rules for consideration at a future meeting.

Finally, the Commission approved $559,076.50 for three restoration and nine enhancement projects by the Restoration and Enhancement Board.

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