Oregon group proposes banning gillnet fishing

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January 6, 2010

SALEM, Oregon: The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is attempting to place an initiative on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Oregon to ban gillnets and tangle nets. CCA filed approximately 1,000 sponsorship signatures with the Secretary of State's office.[1] The proposed measure, also known as the "Protect Our Salmon Act," calls for using commercial fishing methods, which allow selective harvest of hatchery fish. Additionally, the measure calls for establishing a fund to compensate commercial fishermen for the transition to the new methods. 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."[2]

Currently used gillnets are made of mesh, which can make it difficult for caught fish to back out. Measure proponents argue that replacing the nets with fish traps and fish wheels will reduce the mortality of released native fish. But Gary Soderstrom of Clatskanie, the vice president of the Columbia River Fishermans Protective Association said, "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."[2]

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