Astoria, OR — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted rules for the 2012 Columbia River white sturgeon season today at its meeting in Astoria

The 2012 recreational white sturgeon season for the Columbia River was developed at a joint meeting of Oregon and Washington fishery managers on Jan. 26. The season is based on a harvest guideline of 10,400 fish for 2012, a 38 percent reduction from 2011. In response to a continued decline in the abundance of legal-sized fish in both the Willamette and Columbia rivers, the directors of Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife agreed to reduce the harvest rate from 22.5 percent to 16 percent for 2012.

The Commission also approved administrative rules for selecting artwork for the new Habitat Conservation Stamp. The new program gives Oregonians the opportunity to purchase an annual stamp to benefit conservation of Oregon’s native species and habitats. Stamps will sell for $40 a year and will include an ODFW Wildlife Area Parking Pass (a $22 value). Revenue will be used to fund habitat conservation projects linked to the Oregon Conservation Strategy. An art contest is now underway to select artwork for the Habitat Conservation Stamp, which will go on sale later this year.

Finally, the Commission adopted the schedule of damages used in assessing commercial fishing violations during 2012. Each year, the Commission establishes the average market value per pound for each species of food fish. These values are used to set damages in lawsuits associated with the unlawful taking of food fish. The values are based on the average prices during the previous year as reported by Oregon commercial fish dealers.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. It generally meets monthly. The next scheduled meeting is March 9 in Corvallis.

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