PORTLAND — Commercial fishermen from Oregon and Washington say a proposal to ban gillnets from the main stem of the lower Columbia River would destroy their livelihood and way of life.
They spoke Friday at a meeting of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which is hearing public testimony before deciding whether to restrict gillnetting to side channels and tributaries. Washington’s fish commission is scheduled to vote on identical rules next week.
Sport fishers say gillnets are harmful to the recovery of endangered salmon.
The proposed rules requested by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber would phase in the gillnet ban over a four-year period and prioritize recreational fisheries on the river’s main stem. By 2017, gillnets would be allowed only in side channels.