To show support for the local commercial salmon fishing industry, the Clatsop County commissioners are organizing a rally on the steps of the state capital in Salem, Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Port Of Astoria Commissioners have decided to send representatives as well
The commissioners are inviting anyone in the salmon gillnet industry and their supporters to attend the event. The state capital building is located at 900 Court St. NE in Salem.
Representatives of Clatsop County and the Salmon For All commercial fishing group are scheduled to meet with Gov. John Kitzhaber prior to the rally. According to information on the Port website today the commission plans to have a representative at that meeting as well saying "The Commission has repeatedly expressed serious concerns over the potential negative economic impacts to the small businesses of the fishing industry, and to related seafood , restaurant, marine supply and maintenance, tourism businesses, as well as the overall economy of the Port, Clatsop County, and the region." the Commission unanimously decided to join with the County and fishing industry to send representatives to meet with the Governor, and to attend a rally planned for this Thursday
The commissions are opposing a proposal from Gov. Kitzhaber that would prohibit gillnet fishing on the mainstem of the Columbia River. Rules implementing the governor's proposal, which would limit gillnets to off-channel fishing areas in a three-year phased process, are due to be considered by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at a meeting Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6-7 in Portland. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take up the rules at a meeting Dec. 14-15 in Olympia.
Gillnetters and supports argue that the plan would threaten the livelihoods of many area fishermen while accomplishing little toward the conservation of protected salmon runs. Commercial gillnetters harvest at least half of their overall catch in the Columbia channel, through a fishery highly regulated by state and federal agencies.
On Nov. 28 the county board of commissioners opened its regular meeting to testimony from gillnetters and supporters regarding the proposed rules. Twenty-four citizens offered input – an audio recording of the testimony is available online at www.co.clatsop.or.us.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will take up the gillnet plan beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at the Holiday Inn-Portland Airport, Willamette Room, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland. Public testimony will be taken at the meeting. For more information go to www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission.