ASTORIA - The Clatsop County commissioners stated their opposition to a proposed statewide ballot measure that would ban the use of gillnets from Oregon waters.
At the Wednesday, Aug. 10 board of commissioners meeting members of the board said they oppose the measure. One board member suggested postponing taking a position until after more discussion and information can be shared. The other board members indicated they are familiar enough with the proposal to state their position now.
Chair Dirk Rohne said he hopes to have a formal letter stating the board's position prepared for action at a later date.
The measure, sponsored by the Oregon chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association and Oregon state Sens. Fred Girod and Rod Monroe, would prohibit the use of gillnets and tangle nets from all Oregon waters, including most of the lower Columbia River.
It would instead direct the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to allow the use of seine nets, which are currently banned on the Columbia.
The draft measure is currently under review by the Oregon Attorney General's Office.
Supporters plan to place it on the November 2012 ballot.
Measure supporters say the new rule would reduce mortality levels of wild salmon and steelhead inadvertently caught in gillnets and returned to the water. Opponents have argued that this measure and other past legislation limiting gillnet fishing are part of a campaign by sport fishing interests to increase their share of the Columbia River salmon harvest at the expense of gillnetters.
"We support an equitable sharing of the salmon harvest by all user groups," Rohne said.