Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Control Date for Growing Commercial Market Squid Fishery

Image via Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has set Jan. 1, 2022 as the control date should it consider a limited entry structure for the state’s growing commercial market squid fishery in the future.

This means that if the Commission decides to change from an open access to limited entry fishery at some point, only commercial fishermen participating before Jan. 1, 2022 could be considered for permits that are allocated based on historical participation.

Commercial market squid is a relatively new fishery for Oregon but growing in popularity, leading to concerns about the resource’s sustainability.

Also during its February meeting, the Commission directed ODFW staff to come back with a proposal to prohibit light boats in the fishery beginning in 2023. More information about other regulations adopted for the fishery, including net size regulations, see the agenda item or the market squid section of the commercial fishing website where regulations will be posted next week: https://dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/commercial_fishing/index.asp.

Commissioners also approved an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde that allows enrolled Tribal Members to harvest shellfish under a special gathering permit, rather than a recreational shellfish license, in the Trask Unit and the ocean adjacent to the unit including Tillamook Bay.

Under the new agreement, Tribal members harvesting under the new permit would still follow Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations regarding species, daily bag limits, sizes, harvest methods and seasons. More information is available at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2022/02_Feb/021822b.asp.

“To be able to return to our fishing grounds and to harvest shellfish under a Tribal permit is something that will support us for generations to come,” Grand Ronde Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said.

Additionally during the meeting, the Commission denied a petition requesting a Declaratory Ruling regarding North Umpqua summer steelhead hatchery smolt releases for 2022. In fall 2021, ODFW staff began an analysis of wild summer steelhead health in the Umpqua Basin. The analysis is looking broadly at all factors that could be contributing to the decline of wild summer steelhead including hatchery fish, fires, non-native species, streamflow temp and ocean conditions.

The plan is for staff to present the analysis to the Commission at its April meeting. Based on that analysis, staff may recommend changes in management, including for the hatchery program and release of smolts this spring.

The Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for March 18.