Friday, July 25, 2014

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered the state to hold up on enforcing new gillnet fishing rules in response to a challenge from commercial fishermen.

The court's order came Monday in response to a request from two Oregon gillnet fishing leaders who argue that the state Fish and Wildlife Commission's decision last December violated several state laws.

The commission voted to ban the use of gillnets to catch fish on the main stem of the Columbia River, relegating the primary commercial-fishing tool to side channels and tributaries.

The court order noted that neither the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife nor anti-gillnet groups opposed the stay request. The stay will remain in effect while the legal petition proceeds.

The gillnet ban was pushed by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who hoped to mediate a longstanding conflict between commercial and recreational fishermen while moving to new methods of commercial fishing.

The Washington state Fish and Wildlife Commission voted in January to phase out gillnet fishing on the main stem of the Columbia River by 2017.

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