Tag Archives: Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission

Editorial: Fishermen should look for smart ways to survive

As spring Chinook salmon congregate in the ocean around the mouth of the Columbia River in anticipation of their ancient migration to upriver spawning grounds, this spring also sees a swirling conglomeration of politics in Oregon and Washington state over how to allocate salmon among different interests. In some ways nothing new, in other respects the fight over salmon is rising to a higher pitch. Increasingly involving elected leaders, the outcome is becoming even less predictable. Also unclear is where a majority of Oregon and Washington state voters stand on the issue. The key point of recent news in the matter is the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s unanimous vote to curtail gillnet fish harvests, altering an earlier decision that was more favorable to commercial fishermen. Bullied into the decision by Gov. Kate Brown, the commission backed away from its earlier acknowledgment that the states have so far failed to keep a promise made by the Oregon Legislature to ensure the continuing economic viability of the commercial fleet. Alternative fishing methods have proven ineffective, alternative fishing grounds are in short supply, and money has been slow to arrive to aid transition away from the decades long gillnetting tradition. continue reading the op-ed here 16:20

Oregon adopts Columbia River salmon reforms

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission took another try Friday at adopting Columbia River salmon management reforms, but it’s still unclear if the policies will satisfy Washington’s commission. In January, the Oregon commission adopted revised reforms which were more friendly to gillnet fishermen. Following a backlash from sportsmen, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent the Oregon commission a scolding letter that directed the panel adopt a position closer to the details adopted in 2013 and more akin to Washington’s position. Oregon commission member Greg Wolley of Portland said he got a call from Brown on Thursday. The proposal adopted on Friday meets the spirit of her letter and the compromise Brown wanted, Wolley said. Brad Smith, chairman of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, sent a letter to Michael Finley, his Oregon counterpart, on Wednesday indicating that Washington felt the plan it adopted in January already was a compromise from the original 2012 agreement. “I’m really uncomfortable with this,’’ said Oregon commission member Holly Akenson of Enterprise, who added the plan does not do enough for commercial fishermen. Read the story here 09:09

Steelheaders call for Buckmaster’s removal from fish commission

In the latest development in the feud between sports anglers and commercial fishermen over the use of gillnets in the lower Columbia River, a sports angling group is petitioning the governor to remove a state fish and wildlife commissioner who voted with three others to continue to allow the practice in late January. The Association of Northwest Steelheaders submitted a petition last week signed by nearly 6,000 people calling on Gov. Kate Brown to remove Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster. Buckmaster, a Brown appointee, has served on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission since 2015. Detractors argued at the time he was a lobbyist for the commercial gillnetting industry, a claim which Buckmaster denied. continue reading the article here 21:08

Oregon seeks compromise on Columbia salmon fishing reforms

The chairman of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has offered to compromise with the Washington commission over their differences regarding the Columbia River salmon reforms. Earlier this year, the two state commissions approved reforms starting this year in how salmon are allocated between sport and commercial fishermen and allowable commercial fishing methods. Oregon opted for a plan more friendly to commercial fishing than did the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown then scolded the Oregon commission for reneging on a 2013 agreement to limit gillnetting to off-channel areas and told it to change the policy by April 3. Michael Finley, chair of the Oregon commission, sent a letter to Brad Smith, chair of the Washington commission, on Tuesday detailing his compromise proposals. By species, here is a look at Finley’s proposals: continue reading the story here 09:26

Governor Brown’s interference pits her against commercial fisherman

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reverse their January decision that gave commercial fishermen a minimally fair share of the Columbia River’s salmon allocation. Addressing commissioners as if they are misbehaving children, Brown told Chairman Michael Finley the commission majority’s acknowledgment of reality is “not acceptable” and that “I expect” the commission to acquiesce to her interpretation of the facts by April 3. Fish and Wildlife Commission members are in an infinitely better position to judge the ineffectiveness of salmon policies than is the governor. Read the Op-ed here 17:03

Gov. Kate Brown puts political correctness above jobs

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reverse their January decision that gave commercial fishermen a minimally fair share of the Columbia River’s salmon allocation. Addressing commissioners as if they are misbehaving children, Brown told Chairman Michael Finley the commission majority’s acknowledgment of reality is “not acceptable” and that “I expect” the commission to acquiesce to her interpretation of the facts by April 3. The commission agreed at a meeting on Friday in Tigard to take up the issue in March. Many of the most important facts are not in dispute: Former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s dictated abandonment of decades of carefully nuanced salmon policy has not worked. Kicking commercial fishermen off the Columbia’s main stem as of Dec. 31, 2016, as Kitzhaber’s plan called for, is manifestly unjust and will hurt the economy of Clatsop County and other fishing-dependent communities. Continue reading the Op-ed here 07:41

Oregon did the right thing in backing off gillnet ban on the main Columbia River. Washington state should too.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is to be commended for recognizing that a 2013 policy dictated by former Gov. John Kitzhaber to kick commercial salmon fishing off the Columbia River has failed. It isn’t just Lower Columbia River residents who think so. Bobby Levy, former commission chair, commented on Facebook, “Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissioners did the fair and right thing! I applaud you!!” Levy led the commission in 2012 and 2013 when the two fish and wildlife commissions of Oregon and Washington state headed down the path to implementing the Kitzhaber scheme. Never fully thought out, gutting a centurylong tradition of supplying local consumers with some of the salmon we support with our taxes and electric rates was largely the product of intense lobbying by one subset of recreational fishing, embodied by the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association. A long-successful alliance between different salmon-fishing interests was cast aside, resulting in a loss of important unified advocacy for salmon recovery in the Columbia estuary and basin. Evicting gillnetters from the main stem of the Columbia by the end of 2016 was premised on a number of assumptions, including: Read the rest of the op-ed here 08:29

Oregon will defy joint fish management on the lower Columbia River

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission ripped a hole Friday in the 99-year-old fabric of concurrent fish management on the Columbia River. With a split 4-3 vote, commission members defied the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s attempt to negotiate the long-contested Columbia River Management Plan. The plan required a switch from gill-netting to selective commercial fishing on the mainstem below Bonneville Dam. It also gave priority allocation of mainstem salmon harvest to sport anglers. Friday’s vote, however, indefinitely extends gill-netting for fall chinook salmon from Sauvie Island to Bonneville Dam and for summer chinook in the entire lower river. Read the story here 07:28

Sportsmen, commercials feud over Columbia River reforms

gillnet-1024x681Sport fishermen from Southwest Washington repeatedly exhorted the state Fish and Wildlife Commission on Saturday to implement fully in 2017 the most sweeping reforms in Columbia River salmon management in decades. And their commercial foes, also from Southwest Washington, were equally strident that the plan adopted four years ago to eliminate gillnetting from the main river and to prioritize angling has been fraught with problems in the 2013-16 transition period. The nine-member citizen panel will meet Jan. 13 and 14 in Vancouver to make its decision. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is going through similar deliberations, then the two states will need to reconcile any differences in their policies. Reforms adopted by both states in early 2013 allocated more chinook salmon to sportsmen in the main Columbia and restricted gillnetting to off-channel sites like Youngs Bay near Astoria. The reforms also called for commercial fishing that remained in the main Columbia to be done with live-capture methods — such as purse seines and beach seines — designed to harvest hatchery stocks and release wild fish. Read the rest here 08:20

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

Sport groups pressure Oregon governor to stop changes in Columbia River net plan

gillnetter, youngs bayFour powerful sportfishing groups have asked Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to keep the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission from significantly altering a plan to move gill-nets from the lower Columbia River in 2017. In a stern letter delivered Monday to the governor and commission, the coalition threatens to withdraw support from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife if a revision to the Columbia River Plan is adopted. It was signed by representatives of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Coastal Conservation Association and the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association. Read the rest here 11:06

Gillnetters: Kitzhaber plan doesn’t deliver

kitzhaberLower Columbia River gillnetters told the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Nov. 9 that fishery harvest reforms initiated in 2013 are not working economically, while salmon and steelhead anglers accused the commission of vacating its promise to get gillnetters off the river. As many as 150 people attended the Salem commission meeting and public forum on mainstem fishery harvest reforms, where comments were heard on a proposal by ODFW that would continue gillnetting in some areas of the mainstem river. The harvest reform package, also known as the Kitzhaber plan, is in its final year of transition and was to become fully effective at the beginning of 2017 when all Columbia River mainstem fishing would be allocated to recreational anglers and commercial gillnetters would fish in off-channel select areas, mostly in the lower river and mostly for hatchery chinook and coho salmon. However, the reform also promised to keep gillnetters economically whole, but the actual plan implementation is lagging in hatchery production of smolts, identifying additional off-channel areas and developing alternative gear that would allow commercial fishers to better target hatchery fish, among other issues. Read the rest here 10:41

Sportfishing boat builder appointed to Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission

Oregon Fish and Wildlife CommissionJim Bittle of Central Point, owner of Willie Boats, Inc., in Medford, has been nominated by Gov. Kate Brown to replace Jason Atkinson of Jacksonville on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Atkinson has asked to be replaced. His term expires in 2019. Bittle, known for his business savvy, leadership and advocacy for fish and sportfishing, has owned Willie Boats, Inc., since the 2007 passing of its founder, Willie Illingworth. His appointment has already been applauded by sportfishing leaders as a balance to another Gov. Brown appointee last year, Bruce Buckmaster of Astoria, a long-time supporter of commercial fishing. Also up for reappointment are commissioners Greg Wolley of Portland and Laura Anderson of Newport. The Oregon Senate is scheduled to consider their confirmations in December. link 13:35

Oregon proposes ‘rebalance’ of Columbia River salmon reforms

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a “strategic rebalance” of the landmark 2012 Columbia River salmon management reforms, including continuation of gillnetting for fall chinook between Woodland and Beacon Rock. The department’s recommendations will be presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in a one-topic, all-day meeting beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive, Salem. In late 2012 and early 2013, the Washington and Oregon commissions adopted the biggest overhaul of Columbia River salmon policies in seven decades. Jump-started by former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, the policies called for allocating more chinook salmon to sportsmen in the main Columbia and restricting gillnetting to off-channel sites like Youngs Bay near Astoria. Among recommendations for 2017 developed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are: Read the rest here 11:17

A Fish And Wildlife Seat Up For Grabs, With High Stakes

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Openings on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission have sport fishing groups eyeing an opportunity to gain a voice while some environmental groups worry they’ll lose one. Two members are up for reappointment and another seat is vacant on the commission, which sets natural resource policies ranging from hunting and fishing rules to last year’s decision to remove gray wolves from the endangered list. Recreational anglers hope one of their longtime advocates, Liz Hamilton, can become one of the seven members of the commission, which they say has tilted too far toward commercial fishing interests. Hamilton runs the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. She submitted a letter of interest to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown earlier this summer expressing her interest in joining the commission. It included endorsements from Sen. Ron Wyden and Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader, along with several prominent figures from the sport fishing community. Environmental groups are supporting the reappointment of Greg Wolley, who they consider one of the commission’s strongest voice for conservation. He is also the first and only African-American member of the commission. Read the story here 10:14

Oregon commission reviews impact of Former Governor Kitzhaber fishery harvest reform plan

s_topTEMP325x350-8532The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at its March meeting reviewed fishery harvest reforms on the Columbia River that effectively remove commercial gillnetters from the mainstem river by 2017 but allows gillnetting in the lower river in select areas. The three-year transition will be complete by next year. It consists of harvest allocation shifts, with recreational anglers taking a larger chunk of the mainstem fishing while commercial fishing transitions to select off-channel areas, such as Youngs Bay and Knappa and Blind sloughs in Oregon, and Deep River and eventually to the Cathlamet Channel, all in the lower Columbia River estuary. Read the rest here 08:22

Ocean salmon seasons set by PFMC, pending NMFS final approval

20140891-largeThe Pacific Fishery Management Council struggled through week-long negotiations over widely contrasting salmon outlooks before setting sport and commercial rules for coastal Oregon, Washington and California on Thursday afternoon. Its decisions still require approval by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Chinook salmon fishing will be allowed from all ports, with reduced commercial seasons bearing the brunt of cutbacks in southerly waters. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will adopt ocean salmon regulations for state waters at its April 22 meeting in Bandon. The commission typically matches regulations set by the Management Council. Read the article here 11:19

Buckmaster, Atkinson to get full Senate vote for fish and wildlife commission

sportfishers oppose the appointment of astoria resident bruce buckmasterThe sportfishing industry raised an outcry after Gov. Kate Brown announced last month the appointment of Astoria resident Bruce Buckmaster to fill a seat on the commission that has been vacant for two years. Sportfishers complained Buckmaster had opposed a plan that allocates more fish on the Lower Columbia River to anglers, and they pointed out that none of the current commissioners or Brown’s appointees work in the sportfishing industry. The Senate Committee on Rules nonetheless voted unanimously to send Buckmaster,,, Read the rest here 10:26

Fish Grab – Embattled Fish and Wildlife nominee Bruce Buckmaster : I’m not a paid lobbyist

Bruce Buckmaster responded Friday to a growing effort to get his name withdrawn from the list of nominees to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. He has been labeled a “lobbyist, spokesman and chief strategist for the the commercial gillnet industry” by the Coastal Conservation Association Oregon in an announcement about a campaign to get Buckmaster’s name taken off the list submitted by Gov. Kate Brown. Read the rest here 11:16

Fish Grab – Sportfishers ask Gov. Kate Brown to rescind appointment of gill-net strategist

gillnetter, youngs bayA contingent of groups representing the Oregon sportfishing community have asked Gov. Kate Brown to rescind her appointment of a commercial gill-net industry lobbyist to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Coastal Conservation Association, Northwest Steelheaders, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Northwest Guides & Anglers Association and McKenzie River Guides have urged their members to contact state senators and ask them not to confirm Bruce Buckmaster’s 4-year appointment. Read the rest here 17:39

Contentious! Gill-net strategist appointed to fish and wildlife commission

Gov. Kate Brown set the hook on sport anglers this past week with her appointment of an Astoria gill-net industry strategist to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Bruce Buckmaster’s  nomination, due for Senate confirmation in a hearing May 14, is already drawing rapid and rabid fire. A closed meeting scheduled for Wednesday in the Oregon State Library to introduce appointees to invited user groups was canceled late Friday by the governor’s office. Spokesmen for both the Oregon chapter of the Coastal Conservation  Association,,, Read the rest here 09:51

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission 2015 Rules For Fish Harvests, recreational and commercial

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission met today and set the 2015 harvest specifications and season structures for recreational and commercial groundfish that include significant changes to the composition of the seven fish daily bag limit for marine fish. Read the rest here 10:37

“We don’t want this money.” Fund approved to help Columbia River gillnetters adapt to (forced) change

“We don’t want this money. I don’t want this money,” said gillnetter Chris Cameron. “We’re in a time when people are trying to make a living. We’re talking about two thousand dollars here. That doesn’t do nothing.” Jim Wells, president of the gillnetting group Salmon for All, told commissioners fishermen testing out alternatives to gillnets haven’t been successful. Read the rest here  15:19

Oregon Anglers To Pay More To Fund Elimination Of Gill-Nets From Lower Columbia

Perhaps this is obvious, but let us be clear — the challenged rules require a major reallocation of fishing rights for ESA-impacts from commercial fishers to recreational fishers. The rules focus on who can harvest listed species, not whether the fish may be caught,” according to the brief filed by commercial fishing interests. [email protected]  11:26

Lower Columbia River Gillnet supporters file fresh challenge to restrictions in the Oregon Court of Appeals

An amended petition that challenges proposed changes to gillnet use on the lower Columbia River was filed Monday in the Oregon Court of Appeals. The new petition responds to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s adoption of rules June 6, which replaced similar rules adopted by the commission in December. [email protected]

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission affirms ocean salmon, halibut seasons

The News Guard – SALEM – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting today made official the 2013 ocean salmon and Pacific halilbut seasons, including several fisheries that opened earlier in this month under temporary rules. The Commission adopted regulations for ocean coho and chinook salmon fishing in Oregon’s territorial waters that are in line with the seasons set by Pacific Fisheries Management Council in April for ocean waters beyond three miles. continued

Appeals Court Puts Oregon’s Gill Net Fishing Rules on Hold – For Now

In last November’s election, Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected Measure 81, which would have banned commercial non-tribal gill net fishing on Oregon’s “inland waters” and allowed the use of seine nets in their stead. continued

Commercial fishermen challenge new Ore. gillnet rules; ask Wash. to delay decision

ASTORIA, Oregon — Commercial fishermen turned to the Oregon Court of Appeals on Friday to challenge a recent change in the state’s gillnet fishing rules.

On Dec. 7, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife 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.

Washington’s fish commission is expected to decide next week on similar rules. That could eliminate the centuries-old practice from both sides of the river. Read More

Oregon bans gill nets on Columbia River – action infuriates commercial fishermen

PORTLAND — The state Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Friday to ban the use of gill nets to catch fish on the main stem of the Columbia River, relegating the primary commercial-­fishing tool to side channels and tributaries. http://www.registerguard.com/web/news/cityregion/29151699-41/commercial-fishing-fish-gill-fishers.html.csp

County Commissioners to hold Rally in Salem Thursday for Gillnetters – Public To Speak at Friday, Dec. 7 Meeting! BE THERE!

To show support for the local commercial salmon fishing industry, the Clatsop County Commissioners are organizing a rally on the steps of the state capital in Salem, Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will take up the gillnet plan beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at the Holiday Inn-Portland Airport, Willamette Room, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland. Public testimony will be taken at the meeting. http://www.seasidesignal.com/regional/article_52cea3a6-3db4-11e2-8658-001a4bcf887a.html