ASTORIA —The public boycott of Astoria fishing retailer John Englund by at least three major recreational fishing businesses, following Englund’s vote on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to lower recreational salmon take on the Columbia River this spring, gave the recreation fishing industry an entrance, albeit ungraceful, onto Oregon’s political scene.
Englund’s Marine and Industrial Supply does about 60% of its business with commercial fisherman and the balance with recreational anglers. A small piece of his dealings is with gillnetters, a dwindling sect of the commercial industry who work the Columbia River and who stood to benefit from Englund’s deciding vote in favor of allocating 55% of spring Chinook on the Columbia for recreational fishermen and 45% for gillnetters. (Washington and Oregon later agreed on a 57%-43% split.)
That it was a slim change after last year’s 60%-40% split didn’t seem to matter. His move was construed in political terms and got a political response.
Three major financial backers of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Brian Brush, owner of North River Boats in Roseburg, and the owners of Stevens Marine and Fisherman’s Marine and Outdoor, wrote to Englund announcing their boycott.
Englund says he’s not clear how much the boycott will cost him, but what is clear is that the sport fishing industry wants to be heard, even if it’s in the form of some ugly, old-school retribution.
The NWSI recently launched a fundraising campaign to start a political action committee. Brush has kicked in more than $4,000 for the $20,000 campaign. And with fish runs apparently in a down cycle and not being helped by federal policy, this group will likely throw its weight around more as competition over limited resources heats up.
— Oakley Brooks
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