Long time fisheries activist Jim Myron, now working with The Conservation Angler, wrote to inform me of an Oregon state law that is relevant to my most recent post about the immorality of fishing for steelhead on the Deschutes at this point in time.
ORS 496.012 requires the state to “prevent serious depletion of any indigenous species…” This has gone way beyond serious depletion and we are looking at extinction on the horizon.
The text of the law can be found here. It certainly seems to say that the ODFW Commission should be doing a lot more right now. With the exception of some limited areas, they have not closed the Columbia, John Day, Deschutes, or other rivers to fishing, they have simply stopped the retention of steelhead. ODFW’s recent press release “encourages” anglers to avoid steelhead but there is no legal weight to this. If not illegal, it certainly is immoral.
You can send an email to the Commission here.
UPDATE: Here’s a memo from a former Director of ODFW that states that in the event that conservation and recreation are in conflict that conservation will take precedence.