National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Just when Oregon salmon gillnetters thought it was safe to go back in the water, the Beaver State chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association is at it again. It's reviving its attempt to place an initiative on the November ballot that would ban salmon gillnetting on the Columbia River.

The Oregon CCA chapter filed the state initiative in December, asserting that it sought to ban gillnet and tangle net use with the intention of establishing a fund to help harvesters switch to more selective fishing gear.

That might be fine if there were other gear that Oregon's salmon fishermen could use. But the state's attorney general's office, which reviews all potential ballot-initiative items, determined that there is no alternative gear available to salmon harvesters — gillnets and tangle nets are the only legal gear Oregon law allows them to use.

The attorney general's office changed the proposed initiative's title to reflect that problem. Consequently, CCA withdrew the initiative in mid-February.

But before Oregon gillnetters could exhale came word that CCA is refiling the AG-altered initiative. It must gather 82,769 signatures by early July to get it on the ballot.

Oregon's commercial salmon fishermen were proactive when the CCA chapter first filed the initiative. They actively campaigned against the proposal and developed a video to educate the public and demonstrate to them how the gear actually works. Looks like they'll have to dust it off and remind Oregon residents once more that gillnets and tangle nets should remain on the Columbia.

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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