Monday night, the public spoke at a hearing in Florence about proposed rules for new marine reserves, one of which is at Cape Perpetua, above. Photo by Ryan Cronk/Siuslaw News
Enforcement of marine reserves rules and what commercial fishermen should do if their crab pots accidently drift into a reserve were some of the issues addressed Monday night after a formal hearing conducted at the Florence Events Center.
The public has been asked to weigh in on Oregon Departments of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and State Lands (DSL) proposed rules for three newly designated no-fishing marine reserves at Cape Perpetua, Cascade Head and Cape Falcon. The reserves were created during the 2012 Oregon legislative session with the passage of Senate Bill 1510.
Once harvest restrictions go into effect, it will be unlawful to fish or take any other living or non-living marine resource, including kelp or seaweed, from the reserves. It will also be against the law to deploy any type of fishing gear.
The three areas bring the state’s network up to five reserves, including two previously designated sites at Redfish Rocks and Otter Rock, where harvest restrictions went into effect in January.
Adjacent marine-protected areas allow some fishing, depending on the specific area and species.
According to Cristen Don, marine biologist and ODFW marine reserves leader, harvest restrictions in the Cape Perpetua and Cascade Head sites should go into effect on Jan 1, 2014, following two years of baseline data collection. Data collection will follow at Cape Falcon, with rules to take effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Troopers from the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division will enforce the rules, as they currently do for other fishing and hunting offenses. Most of the observations will be made by land, but also by boat.
“The idea is also to come up with a plan to provide a little more presence,” said Don.
OSP Senior Trooper Scott Salisbury explained that violations will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Under current law, if the offense is determined to be a Class A misdemeanor, the maximum fine is $6,250 and the maximum sentence is one year in jail. If the offense is charged as a violation, fines will vary according to severity of offense.
Following severe winter storms, it is possible for fishing gear or commercial crab pots to end up within the boundaries of a reserve. To retrieve gear, Don said vessel operators must notify OSP at its tip hotline number, 1-800-452-7888, for permission to enter the reserve. No fish or wildlife attached to the gear can be kept.
Members of the public who observe possible violations should call the hotline number.
Don stated that researchers should notify OSP prior to entering a reserve.
The reserves cover less than 5 percent of Oregon’s territorial sea, which is within three nautical miles seaward along the coastline. The reserves also include rocky intertidal stretches within the site boundaries.
The closest site to Florence is Cape Perpetua, near Yachats, which in addition to the reserve, includes two marine-protected areas (MPAs) and one seabird-protected area.
The rules proposed by ODFW regulate fishing and hunting activities. DSL rules establish boundaries and regulate seafloor uses.
During the public hearing, most participants lauded the state’s process for creating the reserves, which included recommendations from community teams comprising local government, sport and commercial fishers, scientists, recreationists and other stakeholders.
Some remarked on potential economic benefits in bringing more outdoor recreationists to the areas and the opportunities for study and research.
For the complete article see the 06-30-2012 issue.
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