Backers say they'll halt campaign

Backers of a ballot measure banning salmon gillnetting on the Oregon side of the lower Columbia River announced Monday they will halt their campaign.

The Stop Gillnets Now coalition, which was leading the Yes on Measure 81 campaign, said it will instead support Gov. John Kitzhaber’s compromise that would shift gillnetting to areas of the Columbia River populated mostly by salmon bred in hatcheries. The coalition had earlier lost the support of some sports fishing groups, which also bailed in favor of Kitzhaber's plan to head off the total ban.

The Coastal Conservation Association, the lead sports fishers group promoting Measure 81, said Monday that it will halt the campaign.

The compromise still must be approved by the Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife commissions, and Measure 81 will still appear on the November statewide ballot.

Sports fishing groups had lobbied for a bill in the Oregon Legislature that would push gillnetting onto areas considered safe for endangered salmon. But Salmon for All, the gillnetters trade group, staunchly opposed it.

Now it appears the threat of a total ban, via Measure 81, may have gotten sports fishers what they wanted.

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