Tag Archives: harvest

Oysters Reseeded At 2012 Penn Cove Oil Spill Site; Rec Harvest Expected In 2-3 Years

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Earlier this month, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) contracted with the Hood Canal Oyster Company to plant Pacific oysters on public tidelands at West Penn Cove off Whidbey Island.

WDFW EXPECTS THESE BABY OYSTERS TO BE HARVESTABLE IN A FEW YEARS. (WDFW)

This is the first of at least three oyster plantings to compensate for the recreational shellfish harvest closures that occurred during the response to a 5,000-gallon oil spill in May 2012, caused by the sinking of a fishing vessel in Penn Cove. Details about that incident are available at https://incidentnews.noaa.gov/incident/8446#.

Working with the Washington Department of Ecology, Department of Health, and other members of the Resource Damage Assessment Committee, WDFW conducted a study to determine the amount of lost shellfish harvest opportunity caused by the oil spill incident. The study concluded that 1,996 harvest days were lost, with a monetary value of $97,722.

The owner of the sunken vessel was billed for these damages, but payment was never received. WDFW made a claim to the National Pollution Fund Center, as allowed under provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, to secure funding to restore shellfish populations.

“This is the first time we have made a successful claim to the National Pollution Fund Center for lost recreational harvest opportunity,” said Don Noviello, WDFW oil spill planning and response specialist. “Preventing oil spills is the best solution for preserving our natural resources, but we are happy that we have been able to get funding and take actions to compensate shellfish harvesters for the 2012 Penn Cove oil spill damages.”

Oyster planting is performed by spreading oyster shells that are seeded with larval oysters. The planted oysters grow in place to legal size and will mature and be ready to harvest in two to three years. By 2021, shellfish managers expect these plants to add approximately 300,000 harvestable oysters to the Penn Cove recreational fishery.

Recreational oyster harvesters are required to shuck oysters on the beach and leave shells at the same tide height where they were harvested. Leaving shells on the beach increases the ability for new oysters to colonize the area. The legal daily limit for recreational oysters is 18 per person, with oysters eaten on the beach counted toward the daily limit.

For more information on shellfish harvesting in Washington, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/shellfish-beaches.

2017 Idaho Elk, Whitetail Harvest Up, Mule Deer Down, Hunt Managers Report

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Hunters took more elk and white-tailed deer in 2017 than in 2016, but mule deer harvest was down. With a much milder winter so far, Fish and Game biologists expect the drop in mule deer harvest to be short lived as herds recover from last year’s difficult winter across Central and Southern Idaho.

The 2017 elk harvest was about 17.5 percent above the 10-year average, and despite the dip in the mule deer harvest, 2017’s overall deer harvest was still slightly above the 10-year average.

(IDFG)

Elk harvest

Elk hunters are enjoying some of the best hunting in recent history. Harvest was up by 1,242 elk in 2017 over 2016, which was largely an increase in cow harvest. The bull harvest dropped 341 animals between 2016 and 2017.

Fish and Game increased cow hunting opportunities to reduce herds that are causing damage to private lands in parts of the state.

Idaho’s elk harvest has exceeded 20,000 elk for four straight years, which hasn’t happened since the mid 1990s.

Idaho’s elk herds have grown in recent years thanks in part to mild winters, but elk don’t typically suffer the same fate as mule deer when winter turns colder and snowier.

“Elk are much hardier animals and less susceptible to environmental conditions,” Fish and Game Deer and Elk Coordinator Daryl Meints said. “It has to be a tough winter to kill elk.”

(IDFG)

Deer harvest

The 2017 deer harvest dropped by 11,426 animals compared with 2016, which included a slight increase in white-tailed deer harvested, but 11,574 fewer mule deer harvested.

In response to last year’s hard winter, Fish and Game’s wildlife managers reduced antlerless hunting opportunities for mule deer in 2017 to protect breeding-age does and help the population bounce back more quickly. That resulted in 2,517 fewer antlerless mule deer harvested.

Fish and Game’s mule deer monitoring last winter showed only 30 percent survival for fawns, which was the second-lowest since winter monitoring started 20 years ago. Those male fawns would have been two-points or spikes in the fall had they survived, which typically account for a large portion of the mule deer buck harvest. Harvest statistics showed hunters took 3,709 fewer two points or spikes in 2017 than in 2016.

Mule deer tend to run on a “boom and bust” cycle, and “every few years, you’re going to have a winter when this happens,” Meints said.

However, it tends to be fairly short-lived unless there are consecutive winters with prolonged deep snow and/or frigid temperatures. While mule deer hunting was down, whitetail hunting remains solid and stable, and hunters took more whitetails than mule deer last fall, which is rare for Idaho.

TONEY GRIFFITH BAGGED HER FIRST WHITETAIL LAST NOVEMBER WHILE HUNTING IN NORTH IDAHO. MANAGERS THERE SAY THE 2017 HARVEST WAS NOT FAR BELOW 2015’S RECORD. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

The whitetail harvest in 2016 and 2017 hovering just below the all-time harvest record of 30,578 set in 2015.

Northern Idaho had an average winter last year, and whitetails in the Panhandle and Clearwater continue to thrive after a series of mild-to-average winters there.

“We don’t have as much telemetry-collar data like we do with mule deer, but there’s no reason to believe we haven’t had higher-than-normal survival of whitetail fawns and adults, and the harvest data supports that,” Meints said.

Looking ahead

While last winter’s above-average snowpack in Southern and Central Idaho took its toll on fawns, it also provided a lot of moisture that grew lots of food for big game animals. Many animals went into winter in great condition, and so far, weather has been mild compared to last year.

A mild, or average, winter typically grows herds because a larger proportion of the fawns and calves survive, which is a critical time for their passage into adulthood.

Even during the difficult winter last year, more than 90 percent of the radio-collared mule deer does, and more than 95 percent of the radio-collared cow elk survived.