Monday, December 22, 2014

Gov. John Kitzhaber's effort to move gillnet fishers off the main stem of the Columbia River took a big step forward in the final hours of Oregon's legislative session this week.

Recreational fishers will find higher prices for licenses to catch salmon and steelhead along with an exclusion zone in a popular fishing spot near Astoria, though the boundaries aren't yet defined.

The measure lifts a decades-old ban on seine nets for commercial fishing and allocates $500,000 to mitigate the economic impacts of ending gillnet fishing on the main stem of the Columbia beginning in 2017.

The fish and wildlife commissions in Oregon and Washington voted earlier this year to restrict gillnets to side channels.

Sport-fishing interests supported the bill and commercial fishers opposed it.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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