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Oregon Gillnet Fishing Ban (2010)

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Oregon Gillnet Fishing Ban, also known as Initiative 74, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot as an initiated state statute. Efforts were renewed in March 2010 after measure supporters announced they abandoned their efforts in February 2010 following the Oregon Attorney General's amendment to the ballot title.[1][2] Despite the renewed efforts, as of the state's petition drive deadline, no signatures were filed thus disqualifying the measure for the 2010 ballot.

The proposed measure, also known as the "Protect Our Salmon Act," called for using commercial fishing methods, which would allow selective harvest of hatchery fish. Additionally, the measure called for establishing a fund to compensate commercial fishermen for the transition to the new methods. At the time the measure was filed gillnets made of mesh were used. Gillnets, according to reports, can make it difficult for caught fish to back out.[3] If the measure was approved by voters the effective date would have been January 1, 2011.[4]

Text of measure

The certified ballot title read:[5]

Bans Columbia River commericial salmon/sturgeon fishing; redirects habitat restoration funds to new commission's control

Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote bans commercial salmon/sturgeon fishing in Columbia River; creates commission redirecting fish restoration/enhancement funds to alternative selective fishing methods not currently legal.

Result of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains laws allowing Columbia River commercial salmon/sturgeon fishing with gillnets; continues using recreational fishing license surcharges to fund fish restoration/enhancement projects.

Summary: Current laws allow commercial gillnet fishing for salmon/sturgeon in Columbia River; provides that Oregon and Washington gillnet licenses are valid in Columbia River in both states; allows limited transfer of gillnet licenses; dedicates surcharge on fishing licenses to fund fish restoration/enhancement projects. Measure bans gillnet fishing for salmon/sturgeon in Columbia River waters; ban applies to some nets used in other fisheries. Repeals law allowing for Oregon/Washington gillnet license reciprocity; abolishes license transfer; creates commission redirecting license surcharges from fish restoration/enhancement programs to fund compensating fishers' transition to alternative fishing methods, although none are currently authorized. Measure does not intend to affect Indian fishing rights; effect on fishing management agreements between federal government, Indian tribes, and states is unclear. Other provisions.

Attorney General amendment

Attorney General John Kroger's office changed the ballot title to say a "yes vote" would ban "commercial salmon/sturgeon fishing in Columbia River" because the initiative would essentially end all commercial fishing on the river.[5]

Previously the "Yes" vote read: "Yes" vote bans commercial salmon/sturgeon fishing with gillnets in Oregon; creates commission, redirects fishing license surcharges to fund gillnet users' transition to alternative methods.

Support

Measure proponents argued that replacing the nets with fish traps and fish wheels would reduce the mortality of released native fish. The measure was proposed by the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). Bryan Irwin, the president of CCA said, "We feel it's important to not be eliminating this industry, but to be helping them to reform it...We feel that even though it's likely that the current gillnet fishermen will oppose this, this is better for them in the long run."[6]

Opposition

Gary Soderstrom of Clatskanie, the vice president of the Columbia River Fishermans Protective Association argued, "Traps and stuff, and seines, you're talking million- dollar operations and big crews. Their idea of selectivity is trying to get us to where we can't afford to go fishing."[6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements

Initiative petitions for statutes required six percent of 1,379,475, or 82,769 signatures. The deadline for filing signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot was July 2, 2010. No signatures were filed.

See also

Articles

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