Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners is inviting public comment on a proposal by Gov. John Kitzhaber to restrict commercial salmon gillnet fishing on the lower Columbia River.

The board will accept input at its Wednesday, Nov. 28 meeting beginning at 6 p.m. at the Judge Guy Boyington Building, 857 Commercial St., Astoria.

The Governor's proposal, presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in August, would prevent the use of gillnets by non-tribal fishers on the main channel of the lower Columbia River, and would restrict them to off-channel areas within the Select Area Fisheries Enhancement (SAFE) program. The commission is scheduled to consider a series of rules implementing the proposal Dec. 6 in Portland, and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is taking up a corresponding set of regulations Dec. 14 in Olympia.

The Clatsop County commissioners want to hear from fishing families and others how the proposed rule changes would affect them. The county will submit all comments to the Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife commissions.

The board of commissioners has gone on record in opposition to the proposal, arguing in a letter sent to Kitzhaber that the SAFE fisheries program, a joint project of Clatsop County, the Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife departments, is intended as a supplemental source of salmon for commercial gillnet harvesters, and that there is limited capacity in the existing SAFE sites on the lower Columbia River to accommodate more fishing vessels.

More information on the proposed rules is available online at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/LMCR_fisheries_mgmt_reform.asp

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