Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council Recommends Marine Reserves

On 7 December, Oregon’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council recommended that Oregon set aside three new ocean areas as “marine reserves”.  The recommendation was adopted by a 15 to 1 vote, and sent on to the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission for formal rule-making.  The reserves could also become part of Oregon legislation in 2011.

The reserves, at Yachats’ Cape Perpetua, Manzanita’s Cape Falcon and Depoe Bay’s Cascade Head, represent a much bigger swath of ocean than the 4 square miles in total that was set aside last year at Port Orford’s Redfish Rocks and Newport’s Otter Rock. Those two areas comprise .03 percent of state-owned waters, which stretch from shore to three miles out to sea. The three new reserves would take up between 5 and 7 percent of state territorial waters.

Members of the Council usually opposed to such set asides in the past, including at least one commercial fisherman, remain skeptical but decided they’d be better off voting for a proposal that directs the state to secure funding for research of the marine reserves’ results, assures enforcement of restrictions within the reserves, and promises mitigation of the economic impacts to coastal communities that rely on the fishing industry. 

The reserves each take different shapes, and they have one or more less restrictive “marine protected area” attached to them. The reserve at Cape Perpetua, for example, occupies a total of 22.9 square miles; no fishing or wave energy development or “extractive” activity of any kind would be allowed in that area. Further north, the Council is recommending a “marine protected area” where recreational and commercial crabbing, commercial salmon fishing and shoreside recreational fishing would be allowed, as would commercial groundfishing with hook-and-line. That area is 18.2 square miles.

South of the Perpetua marine reserve, there are two more protected areas, one that’s 13.1 square miles and another that’s 36 square miles. The smaller area has the same restrictions as the protected area further north, except that it allows for groundfish trawling and forage fishing, and the targeting of prey fish such as herring, sardines and anchovies. The other protected area to the south allows for all but forage fishing. The council also recommended more evaluation of a possible sixth marine reserve, off Cape Arago.  For more information about the Oregon Ocean Policy Council go to: www.oregon.gov/LCD/OPAC.

source: Fishlink Sublegals

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