Take Action: Reckless Commissioners Push to Return Gill Nets to the Columbia River
Date: Friday, March 1, 2019
On Tuesday, a joint-state committee of Oregon and Washington fish and
wildlife commissioners voted 4-2 to recommend undoing the 2012 bi-state
Columbia River Reforms. Their recommendation would restore non-tribal
gillnetting to the lower mainstem Columbia River during the spring and
summer seasons and increase mainstem gillnetting during the fall season –
harming salmon, steelhead, and angling opportunity throughout the
Columbia River basin. Unbelievable.
This recommendation was made despite dismal spring, summer, and fall
chinook forecasts which will result in reduced fishing seasons and
conservation concerns. The recommendation is a slap in the face to over
165,000 Oregonians who purchase the $9.75 Columbia River endorsement to
implement the reforms and move gillnets off the mainstem. Shockingly,
ODFW recently asked the legislature to make the endorsement permanent!
Two pro-gillnet Oregon commissioners, Bruce Buckmaster and Holly
Akenson, are now working to ram these changes through the full ODFW
Commission before their terms end in June. We can’t let this happen –
here’s what you can do to stop it!
1 – Click HERE to send your legislators and Governor Kate Brown a pre-drafted email in
opposition to this reckless effort. Please take just two minutes to
personalize the email to increase its effectiveness. The legislature
must hold ODFW accountable – particularly as it seeks to reauthorize the
Columbia River endorsement and asks for more funding.
2 – Call Governor Kate Brown at (503) 378-4582. Ask
her to block this latest effort by these reckless fish and wildlife
commissioners to return gillnets to the mainstem Columbia River. Ask
her to restore balance to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission
through her upcoming appointments (4 of 7 seats are open this year).
3 – Forward this email/share this post with all your friends.
It is critical that we generate thousands of emails and phone calls to
stop this madness. We can win this effort if we all unite.
Here is a link directly to Governor Kate Brown: Share Your Opinion Form
Some of my thoughts:
I first became involved with the Columbia River Gill Net Issues upon
joining the Sandy River Chapter of Northwest Steelheaders in 1968, and
continued my direct involvement while working on a successful Statewide
referendum that made steelhead a game fish for the first time in the
state of Oregon in 1974. The gill netters and fish packers were
dedicated and ruthless enemies of any and all fish conservation policy
during that period, and I think that little has changed in the present.
Gill Netting is an obsolete non-selective way to harvest fish. Too
many threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead wind up in these
nets, and are damaged beyond repair. In this day and age Gill Netting
should be totally abolished. Gill Net licenses and Gill Net businesses
should be be bought up by the States of Washington and Oregon, and the
practice of Gill Netting should be abolished forever. In countries (such
as Belize) where this has happened failing fisheries have rebounded
There is a proviso in HB42 to do away with the current barbless hook
regulation. Personally I am in favor of lessening the trauma of released
fish that often occurs with barbed hooks. In fisheries where wild fish
are released, I think that using single barbless hooks is just another
thing that sport fishers can employ for the survivability of their
fisheries, and their sport.
The 165,000 Oregonians who purchased the $9.75 Columbia River endorsement to
the reforms and move gillnets off the mainstream of the Columbia got bilked by the
Gillneters, ODFW, and the State of Oregon. In three years that is about half a billion bucks! I didn't see that any sport
shop, fly fishing shop or guide service got any cut of this money, or an
endorsement to modify or save their businesses when seasons were
impacted, or when fisheries failed. Instead we all got to pay for the
fox in the hen house.
In 2012 a consortium of fish conservation
groups attempted to put together a referendum to ban Gill Nets within
the State of Oregon. Governor John kitzhaber talked these groups into
negotiating. If we had stood our ground the voters of Oregon would
probably have cured the problem, and I would be writing to you
about a more cheerful subject. Thank you for taking the time to read
Fish long & prosper,
The Fly Fishing Shop, Inc.