Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oregonian Coverage of Oregon Gill Net Ban Initiative

This November Oregon voters will weigh in on Measure 81, which if passed into law would ban the use of gill nets in non-tribal fisheries.  Opponents of gill nets point out that they are non-selective, meaning they kill ESA listed wild salmon and steelhead while targeting more abundant hatchery origin fish. With a rash of ESA listings in the Columbia during the last 20 years, gillnetters have seen their opportunities sharply limited, and both Washington and Oregon have sought to develop more selective fisheries which allow the release of wild fish.

While the implications of the law for the Columbia River which forms the border between Washington  and Oregon are somewhat unclear, the fact that Oregon voters could vote to outlaw gill netting is pushing the issue to the forefront and forcing Oregon's governor John Kitzhaber into the fray. Kitzhaber last week released his plan which would move gill net fisheries out of the mainstem Columbia and into sloughs where gill netters could conduct terminal fisheries for hatchery fish. The governor further called for ODFW to prioritize selective recreational fisheries in harvest management on the mainstem Columbia.

More information in the Oregonian:

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