Measure 81 was on the ballot in November and aimed to ban the use of gillnets on the Columbia River. But many of its advocates abandoned it months before Election Day. Instead, they backed a plan introduced by Governor John Kitzhaber to regulate the gillnetting industry through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife outside of the initiative process.
Kitzhaber’s plan would ban gillnets on the main stem of the Columbia, where commercial fishermen would only be able to use seine nets. Environmental advocates say those nets are better for ecological health. Commercial gillnet fishermen would be relegated to off-channel bays and sloughs.
Gillnet fishermen strongly oppose the plan, telling OPB that it could hurt commercial fishermen financially, plus there’s no room in the off-channel areas for more boats. They also note the new method — seine netting — is currently outlawed.
Editor’s Note: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will be taking public testimony at 8 a.m. Friday at the Willamette Room at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn. They will likely vote on the proposal that day.
Are you a commercial or sport fisherman? What do you think of the Governor’s gillnetting proposal?