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Tribes Oppose Oregon Measure to Ban Gillnetting


 A gillnet fisher prepares his boat. The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is opposing a measure that would ban gillnet fishing in Oregon. Voters will decide this November

A gillnet fisher prepares his boat. The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is opposing a measure that would ban gillnet fishing in Oregon. Voters will decide this November

Flickr Creative Commons: sointula

Columbia River Indian tribes are opposing Oregon Ballot Measure 81, which would ban fishing with gillnets in the state. The four tribes, which include the Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs and Nez Perce, are the latest group to oppose the ban.

The measure does little to rebuild salmon populations, said Kathryn Brigham, chairwoman of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, in a press release.

“Ballot Measure 81 does not save fish or fishing communities,” Brigham said. “All it does is reshuffle who gets to catch the fish in the Lower Columbia. It doesn’t change how many fish can be caught.”

The tribes say a ban on gillnets would threaten cooperative efforts to restore sustainable salmon populations.

Supporters say the ban will replace gillnets with more fish-friendly techniques. Others opposing the ban say it will hurt commercial fishermen and river communities.

Oregon voters will decide whether to ban gillnet fishing this November.

Three groups that had backed a November ballot measure to remove gillnets from the Oregon side of the lower Columbia River came out this week as opponents. They said they are now urging a no vote because they like an alternate proposal Gov. John Kitzhaber advanced after Measure 81 got on the ballot.

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