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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

For immediate release
Thursday, September 12, 2003
Contact: Anne Pressentin Young
Information and Education Division
(503) 947-6020
3406 Cherry Avenue NE
Salem, OR 97303-4924

Interim standards to implement Native Fish Conservation Policy adopted


SALEM – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Friday took the final step in a two-year process to complete the re-writing of administrative rules that will guide future fish management in Oregon. The last step required the Commission to adopt interim standards that will direct fish management in basins that currently lack native fish conservation plans.

The seven-member Commission is the rule-making body for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The panel meets monthly to adopt policies and administrative rules for fish and wildlife issues in the state.

The Native Fish Conservation Policy was adopted last winter after a public task force met numerous times to help draft the rule language. The intent of the policy is to provide a basis for managing hatcheries, fisheries, habitat, predators, competitors, and pathogens in balance with sustainable production of naturally produced native fish. The policy requires ODFW to use a public process to write conservation plans to guide fish management. The elements of the conservation plans are identified in the policy.

Until new conservation plans can be written, however, the interim standards adopted Friday will guide fish management in basins with no basin management plan or other state or federal conservation or recovery plan. They will be used as an “early warning” signal to help biologists detect and address problems that may harm Oregon’s native fish populations. The criteria are based on characteristics of healthy populations, including distribution, abundance and fish survival.

Species management units that are classified “at risk” will be given priority status for development of a conservation plan under the Native Fish Conservation Policy. “At risk” populations do not meet at least three of the adopted interim criteria:

1) No more than 20 percent of the historic populations within a species management unit have become extinct and no additional populations have been lost since 2003;

2) Naturally-produced fish in a population must occupy at least 50 percent of its historic habitat;

3) The number of naturally-produced spawning fish must be greater than 25 percent of the average abundance over the last 30 years;

4) In years when the number of spawners is less than the 30 year average, the rate of population increase shall be at least 1.2 adult offspring per adult fish;

5) At least 90 percent of the spawners within a population must be naturally-produced and not hatchery-produced fish, unless the hatchery fish are part of a short-term experimental program to restore a population;

6) The presence of fish that are the product of deleterious hybridization with species not native to the basin must be rare or non-existent.

In addition, criteria 2-6 must not be met during three years of a five-year interval to be classified as “at risk.”






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