National Fisherman


ASTORIA — Uncertainty about the future of the gillnet fishery on the Columbia River has begun to hurt the businesses that supply the trade.

"We've had the slowest year so far that we've ever had," said Bob Zakrzewski, co-owner of an Astoria business that repairs boats and motors for gillnet fishermen and that is up for sale.

"If I was a gillnetter I wouldn't be putting a bunch of money in my boat if I don't know if I can fish or not," said his partner in Columbia Pacific Marine Works, Lasse Vedenoja.

The Oregon Court of Appeals is considering a challenge from commercial gillnetters to new rules that shunt them from the main stem of the Columbia to tributaries. They say they can't make a living there.

The gillnet ban was pushed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, who hoped to mediate a long dispute between commercial and recreational fishermen. The nets are the primary means of commercial fishing on the river.

They snag fish by the gills, preventing them from breaking free. Critics say they are cruel and kill endangered salmon.

During the appeal, the Oregon rules have been stayed. Washington has adopted similar rules.

About 500 commercial gillnet permit holders and their families on both sides of the river wait to see what the future holds.

Read the full story at the Statesman-Journal>>

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

Read more...

Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

Read more...

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