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Sampling finds mixed numbers of Columbia sturgeon

Sampling finds mixed numbers of Columbia sturgeon

first_imgOver the decades, the sturgeon population of the lower Columbia River often has bedeviled Washington and Oregon biologists tasked with its management.Well, 2017 is here and it’s more of the same.The legal-size population between the ocean and Bonneville Dam has increased in the past year from about 144,000 to either 156,000 or 224,000 — depending on the scientific sampling method used, Pat Frazier, fish policy coordinator, told the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in Vancouver on Saturday.“It’s not an exact science,’’ Frazier said. “These critters are challenging for us…We’re not saying one is necessarily right over the other.’’However, Frazier said an increase of 57 percent in a year is puzzling.“We struggle a little bit with where this increase in the legal population came from,’’ he said.Brad James, sturgeon biologist for the department, told the Columbia River Recreational Advisory Group last week, he thinks the population is closer to the 156,000 number than 224,000.“Such a significant jump is difficult to understand where all those fish would have come from,’’ James said. “It doesn’t match modeled projections and is not supported by catch-per-unit trend in gillnet and setline tagging fisheries.’’last_img read more