Washington halts recreational fishing, Oregon closes salmon and steelhead fisheries

ASTORIA, Ore. -- Oregon fishery managers closed recreational salmon and steelhead fisheries on the Columbia River Thursday night to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision comes after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s announcement Wednesday that it was temporarily halting recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide, The Astorian reported.

Washington and Oregon jointly manage fisheries on the Columbia River and have sought to have concurrent regulations, fishery managers said. Other fisheries in Oregon — as well as fishing for species other than salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River — remain unchanged.

The closure is expected to last until at least April 8 and does not currently carry implications for other fisheries — commercial or recreational.

State fishery managers are continually evaluating the situation, said Chris Kern, deputy fish division administrator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

It’s new to close down fisheries because of a pandemic, he said. “Closures are usually due to the condition of the fish stocks, whether we’ve met catch limits or some other metric.”

Under an executive order issued this week by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, anglers must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people.

Most Oregon North Coast cities imposed limitations on hotel stays over the weekend in an effort to reduce visits to the coast.