Oregon fish and wildlife regulators rescinded three Youngs Bay Select Area commercial salmon fishing periods in March.

Meeting Wednesday, the state rescinded the following periods: noon Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday; 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday; noon March 8 to 6 p.m. March 9.

Patrick Frazier, Columbia River Management Program Leader, said the March fishing periods were rescinded because the majority of the fish caught in that fishery were so-called "upriver" fish, destined for the upper Columbia River. The Youngs Bay fishery is designed to catch salmon raised in net pens.

He said the Youngs Bay fishery did not violate the Endangered Species Act or threaten the upriver fish, but it's "just a matter of making sure that those select area fisheries remain very clean fisheries like they always have been."

Youngs Bay spring and summer seasons will occur as previously adopted.

Oregon and Washington managers took no action regarding the spring chinook gillnet fishery on the Columbia River. That fishery was closed last week because fishermen were handling too many upriver salmon.

Frazier said the high percentage of upriver fish in the river right now is unusual. He said the run typically starts with a large abundance of Willamette River fish, which gillnet fishermen target.

"We do expect within the next week or two that the Willamette fish will become more abundant," Frazier said.

Data from test fishing earlier this week found that the percentage of lower river fish had already increased - from about 20 percent of the run to about 50 percent - since the fishery was closed last week.

Volunteer test fishing is scheduled for Monday, to determine if the fishery can be reopened. All fish caught during the tests will be released.

A Compact Hearing between Oregon and Washington fisheries managers to discuss commercial fishing seasons is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 2501 S.W. First Ave., Portland.


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