The story of commerical fishing in Oregon is a story that highlights change initiated with European settlement of the area, the enthusiasm of invention and innovation, a diverse and vast palate of awe-inspiring resources, courage and optimism of heart and spirit, and lives carved out of the land. Yet its also a story of displacement of native peoples and the demise of their fishery, reduction and elimination of native plants and animals, and nonsustainable harvest of natural resources. It is a story that continues to unfold with reflection on the past and deeper understanding of what will sustain commercial fishing for the future.

Oregonians are known for their connection with the land. Post-European settlement Oregon has been defined largely by our relationship with the regions abundant natural resources, which have provided the base of the states economy. Yet increasingly Oregon is being defined by its urban populations, and employment in the resource-based industries that have supported Oregonians since statehood is giving way to service, manufacturing, and professional positions. Oregonians of all agesboth those whove lived here for generations and those newly arrivedare acknowledging that changes have occurred in the resource base, and are accepting that Oregon has been altered hugely by the use of that resource.

Our task now is to consider how we use and manage our natural resources in the next century. Our decisions will affect Oregon economically, culturally and environmentally. This is our challenge, and our opportunity, and will inform the legacy we leave to future generations.

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