I'm not a Sturgeon guy, but I think it's good that the powers that be are taking steps to increase the chance there will be some around if I decide to give it a shot. In a news post yesterday ODFW and WDFW announced that retention of white sturgeon for the lower Columbia system will be reduced by 38%. This is the third year in a row they have reduced the number and reflects a 16% harvest goal of fish sized 38 to 54 inches.
The reduction has been spurred by declines in legal size sturgeon available in the system. ODFW reports that here are 50% fewer of these size fish available now than there were in 2007. Also, last years harvest target of 22.6% wasn't reached in 2011 falling short by almost 1,200 fish.
The new harvest target will be reduced by 6,040 fish to 9,600. With the shortfall from last year that is an actual reduction of 4,800 fish. ODFW Director Elicker said, "For 2012, the plan is to maintain the season and catch-allocation structure that has been in place for several years, but with shorter fishing periods." The 9,600 available fish will be divided as follows: 4,160 for the estuary, 2,080 above Wauna, and between 1,768 and 2,022 for the Willamette. The range on the Willamette was agreed to because the directors believe some flexibility might be required to meet ODFW's goal of four retention days on the Willamette.
The post also noted that the meeting to set Sturgeon and Spring Chinook seasons for the the lower Columbia will be on the 29th in Portland.