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For Immediate Release Thursday, August 13, 2003

Saltwater Anglers Face Regulation Changes
Public invited to comment.


NEWPORT - Oregon saltwater anglers will face changes in 2004 if several proposed sport fishing regulations are adopted. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (Council) will decide at its September meeting whether or not to adopt new regulations. These include establishing a minimum size limit of 10, 11 or 12 inches for greenlings (also known as sea trout), increasing the lingcod minimum size limit from 24 to 26 inches, and closing recreational groundfish fishing from one month to all year outside of either 30, 40, or 50 fathoms.

Regulations aimed at reducing the harvest of groundfish - a group of fishes that includes greenlings, lingcod, cabezon, rockfishes, and flounders - have been adopted coastwise and more regulations are being considered as concern about overfishing continues. In addition, little is known about the population levels or long-term sustainability of these fishes.

The public may testify in person at the Council meeting Sept. 8-12 in Seattle or submit written comments to Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97220-1384. Written comments for the September meeting must be received no later than Friday, Aug. 22. Suggestions for submitting effective comments can be found on the Council Web site at www.pcouncil.org (click "How to Get Involved" in the sidebar).

Until last year, estuary and shore anglers had been relatively unaffected by changes to saltwater regulations. In 2003 the bag limit for greenlings and cabezon was reduced and a minimum size limit was established for cabezon. Those new regulations took some anglers by surprise.

"Shore anglers in particular are less aware of the regulation process," said Don Bodenmiller, Recreational Saltwater Sport Fishing Project Leader with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We want to get the word out-especially to estuary and shore anglers-that the public can comment on the proposed regulations before the Council makes its decisions in September," Bodenmiller adds.

Greenlings are popular with all anglers, especially estuary and shore anglers, who catch more greenlings than do anglers fishing from ocean boats. In addition, minimum size limits can be expected to have a greater impact on estuary and shore anglers who typically catch smaller greenlings than do ocean boat anglers.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission recently adopted additional regulation changes for 2004 at its August meeting. Those regulations include decreasing the daily bag limit for surfperch from 25 to 15 and increasing in the minimum size limit of cabezon from 15 inches to 16 inches.

For additional information about sport fishing regulations contact Don Bodenmiller or Linda ZumBrunnen, ODFW Newport, (541) 867-4741.

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Information and Education Division
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(503) 872-5264 ext 5528
 
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