ODFW Commission extends Columbia River reform plan by one year

ar-151219834-jpgmaxw600The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday voted to extend by one year a reform policy that would ban gillnetting on the main stem of the Columbia River. The extension of the transition period runs through 2017, giving commissioners some breathing room to refine the policy, which was meant to help endangered salmon and steelhead. “The extension will allow for more consideration by commission members and consultation with management partners,” according to a release from commission staff. The Fish and Wildlife Commission has been reviewing whether to rebalance the Columbia River reform policy and allow limited use of gillnets on the river’s main stem rather than phase the practice out entirely. Oregon and Washington state agreed to eliminate gillnetting on the main stem over four years, encourage commercial fishermen to use alternative gear or off-channel areas, and increase opportunities for sport fishing. Commercial fishermen have fought the policy change since 2012 as a potentially devastating financial blow, as well as the end of a way of life for generations who have worked the river. Read the rest here 09:42