TUMWATER, Wash.— The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission met Saturday – but did not make a decision about the Columbia River fish management plan.
Instead, the nine-member panel was briefed on the specifics of the plan and heard from Oregon and Washington citizens during a public comment period.
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A decision by the commission is tentatively set for mid-January, a delay that offers more opportunity for public comments.
The plan would eventually remove gillnet use on the main stem of the Columbia by 2017. Oregon's six-member fish and wildlife commission voted 4-2 on Dec. 7 to adopt the plan.
The management plan was developed by a two-state process, with workgroup meetings beginning in September. Gov. John Kitzhaber generated the process after sending letters in August to Oregon and Washington's fish and wildlife departments, asking them to alter management on the river.
Fish and wildlife staff from both states and industry advisers convened at the workgroup meetings. The plan reallocates salmon on the river to sports fishermen, shifts commercial gillnet use to off-channel sites and calls for developing seine nets or alternative gear instead of gillnets.
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