Home Back Issues June 2011 Fish fight on the lower Columbia

Fish fight on the lower Columbia

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

 

0611_FishColumbia_01
SB 736 would ban commercial gillnet fishing in the main stem of the lower Columbia below Bonneville.

A coalition of sport fishermen and related businesses is luring legislators to ban commercial gillnet fishing in the main stem of the lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam.

Proponents of Senate Bill 736 say it would limit harm to endangered wild fish and non-targeted species, while opening new opportunities for recreational angling. “Sport fishing provides a softer touch and a better economic return,” says Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.

The law would not ban commercial fishing in the lower Columbia. Rather it would force non-tribal gillnetters to target hatchery fish in “terminal” areas such as Youngs Bay and Blind Slough. Still, Hobe Kytr of Salmon For All says the new law would effectively put an end to one of the state’s longest-running industries. “There isn’t room in the select areas for anywhere close to a full-fleet fishery,” he says. “The high-value fish are in the main stem.”

Commercial fishing on the lower Columbia was a major moneymaker in the early days of statehood, before over fishing, dam-building and urbanization greatly reduced catches. Most of Oregon’s 150 or so remaining non-tribal gillnetters head to Alaska to earn their real money.

In 2010, commercial fishermen caught 1.4 million pounds of Chinook salmon, 808,000 pounds of Coho salmon and 149,000 pounds of sturgeon in the lower Columbia, a combined haul worth about $6 million to fishermen.

Hamilton says the best way to protect wild fish and boost the economy would be to force a shift to recreational harvest over commercial. “We average eight days [on the water] per fish caught,” she says.” “That’s a lot of money spent for each fish taken home.”

Kytr counters that limiting commercial fishing opportunities would also limit funding for salmon recovery, since the two are connected legally. Consumers would also lose access to main-stem Columbia spring Chinooks, renowned for their rich taste and omega-3 fatty acids.

Oregon’s major environmental groups have stayed out of the battle. So have the four Native American tribes with treaty fishing rights to waters above Bonneville Dam. A similar bill targeting gillnetters several sessions ago failed to become law.

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Constant Contact

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

To prevent burnout, companies are banning email and after-hours communications. But is the 24-hour workday here to stay?


Read more...

Gender Code

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD

Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

November/December Preview: Revenge Forestry

News
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

Seneca AW46A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS