The Daily Astorian’s headlong lurch to the right, which the editor says is in response to Gov. Kitzhaber’s opposition to gillnet fishing on the Columbia, has quickly led him to the same kind of obstinate denial of facts and disregard for the truth that has characterized Republican politics in Oregon, and throughout the country, for most of my life.  

The editorial “Reality foils Kitzhaber’s gillnet assumption” (The Daily Astorian, July 21), makes a lucid claim: that “reality often disappoints politics,” and then proceeds to illustrate that very point. But it is the editor’s political views, not his, which are on display, and not supported by the facts. 

In fact, the study the editor cites, and prints on another page, (and, oh my, it seems to be the work of the Forrester family’s Eastern Oregon newspaper chain), simply does not say what the editor says it says. The editor says that “complete data comparing three net options are contained ...” in the accompanying article. 

Instead, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife study only compared two methods of seine netting, the closed or “purse” seine, and the open or “beach” seine. The data about gillnetting mortality included in the article was taken (by gillnet advocates) at an entirely different time, by an entirely different source, who is quoted as himself discounting their own data as being from a “very small” sample. 

Even so, their gillnet data says that 40 percent of the chinook they caught were killed, versus the current study’s results of 34.3 percent for beach seines and 22.5 percent for purse seines. 

If The Daily Astorian believes that those numbers are “basically” the same, I would like to trade a lot of money with you. You give me 40 percent of every dollar you have, and I’ll give you back 22.5 percent or 34.3 percent – take your pick.

Joseph Webb


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