In 2012 Oregon & Washington came together together on Columbia River fishery reforms, including restricting commercial gillnetting.
Now that plan is under attack
In 2012, Oregon and Washington agreed to a phased in, compromise plan to end non-selective, commercial gillnetting and prioritize recreational fisheries in the Columbia River. The lower Columbia River was the last place in Oregon where non-tribal commercial gillnetting was still permitted - the Governors of Oregon and Washington recognized it was time to end this destructive, controversial fishing practice.
In lieu of an immediate ban, agency officials, conservationists, and sportfishing and conservation groups agreed to a three-year phase in that also provided funds to help commercial gillnetters transition to more selective fishing practices. A new $9.75 annual endorsement fee to fish in the Columbia River basin helped fund these reforms and improvements to sport fisheries. The plan is set to go into full effect next year, including an end to non-selective gillnet fishing, but the ODFW Commission is being lobbied to rollback the plan.
Millions of dollars have been spent to implement this plan – most of it coming from a $9.75 Columbia River basin endorsement paid by recreational anglers in Oregon!
Part of that $9.75 has gone to provide more sustainable commercial salmon harvests, through increased harvests in off-channel areas and the development of selective commercial fishing gears. Instead of embracng this opportunity the gillnet lobby has done everything in its power to block the reforms – through lawsuits, legislative maneuvers, and foot dragging.
Our wild salmon and Columbia River sport fishing opportunity have already benefited from the plan, which includes additional improvements set to take effect in 2017. All this is at risk if the gillnet lobby is successful rolling back the plan.
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