Oregon State Police say they have seen a higher violation rate in the 2003 sport salmon season than in recent memory.
Citations aren't focused on any single issue, said Lt. Dave Cleary of the state police fish and wildlife division, but are across the board, from keeping coho with adipose fins to failure to validate harvest cards after fish are caught.
The highest percentage of lawbreakers is out of lower Columbia River ports, where nearly 40 percent of anglers checked so far this season have received either tickets or warnings.
The rate is lower along the rest of the coast, but overall numbers show only 80 percent of anglers are obeying the rules.
"We'd like to see it at 95 percent," Cleary said. "We're usually at least above 90 percent."
Cleary said violations might be because of higher numbers of anglers returning to the salmon fishery because of good runs, combined with more regulations, sometimes varying from area to area.
The bill will require a license purchase for clam digging, crabbing and shellfish collection in saltwater. Crayfish and freshwater clams are exempted.
Hooks -- Must be barbless for all salmon fishing in the ocean. Must be barbless for all sturgeon fishing. Barbed hooks are allowed in the Buoy 10 salmon season, between the mouth of the Columbia and Tongue Point, but not for sturgeon (currently catch-and-release) in the same area.
Limits -- Two salmon in the ocean, any combination of coho or chinook, but all coho kept must be missing an adipose fin; two salmon at Buoy 10 until Aug. 16, when the daily limit increases to three. All Buoy 10 limits can include only one chinook salmon daily. All Buoy 10 coho kept must be missing an adipose fin.
Minimum lengths -- 20 inches for chinook, 16 for coho between Cape Falcon near Manzanita and Humbug Mountain at Port Orford; 24 inches for chinook and 16 for coho off the mouth of the Columbia and in the Buoy 10 area.
One fish/all fish -- Anglers in all ocean areas and at Buoy 10 may leave their rods in the water after keeping a limit of salmon until everyone on the boat has caught a limit. However, anglers who catch a limit must let someone who hasn't land fish hooked on their lines. This rule does not apply upriver from Tongue Point, where anglers must stop fishing and take their lines from the water once a limit is kept.
Tagging -- Harvest cards have to be filled out immediately after a keeper salmon is landed and before the angler can resume fishing. Don't wait until just before returning to port.
Fin clips -- Adipose fins on coho and steelhead have to be completely removed, with a healed scar (the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider a proposal to liberalize this regulation at its meeting Friday in Astoria, but as late as Wednesday negotiations with law enforcement still were going on). Shellfish license looms: A new $5 shellfish license has been approved by the Oregon Legislature and sent to Gov. Ted Kulongoski for his signature.
Even holders of fishing licenses would have to get the shellfish license. If approved by the governor, the law will take effect Jan. 1.
Anglers Reminded of Rules for the Sport Salmon Season
The Oregonian, August 6, 2003
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