No on 81
To the Editor:,
Oregon's initiative petition number 81 to ban commercial gillnet fishing in the Columbia River should be rejected. If passed sport fishers who are but a very minute percentage of the total population already harvest more than 80 percent of the allowable non-Indian fish harvest.
This is a politically motivated fish grab specifically designed to prioritize fish harvest for sport fishers.
The millions of people who do not or cannot sport fish rely on commercial fishers to make fish available for them through fish markets, grocery stores and restaurants. The strictly regulated gillnet fishery has been filling this need for generations. The attempt to kill the gillnet fishery with phony and unsustainable reasons is favoritism.
Some of the initiative's proponents have already backed away and are now supporting a so called "safe salmon plan." It would restrict commercial fishers to select areas off of the main stem of the river where harvest potential is very poor when compared to fishing on the main stem.
The ultimate goal of I-81 and the "safe salmon plan" is to ban commercial fishing in Oregon and Washington completely.
Sport fishers have attempted it twice in Washington and were unsuccessful.
Ironically the sport groups that are pushing for these measures have played a major part in the downward spiral of the fish resource. There is ample documentation to substantiate this.
I hope you will consider printing the above letter.
When I served in the Washington State House of Representatives, I requested that a performance audit be done on the fisheries department. The report revealed items that were improper and unethical. What is going on in the department now is worse yet.
I have been affiliated with the commercial fishing industry for over 42 years.