Columbia River salmon seine fishery launched

COLUMBIA RIVER — Seines are on the main stem of the Columbia River, catching salmon, selling salmon and, in nearly all ways, acting like a normal commercial fishery.

The fishery got off to a slow start last week, with a only few seiners working near the mouth of the river. They landed approximately 100 Chinook in the first two days. Later in the season, more of the river will be open to seine boats.

The fishery opened on the lower river area Aug. 19. Though a number of beach and purse seines have been on the river in recent years, participating in studies as Oregon and Washington fisheries managers seek to move away from commercial gillnetting on the main stem, those fishermen had not been organized in a commercial fishery. This year is the first time a commercial seine fishery has operated on the river since the gear was outlawed by Washington in 1935 and by Oregon in 1950.

Amid concerns that release mortality rates for seine-caught fish are too high, fisheries managers hope that the data collected from the new research fishery will better help them understand how seines may or may not work on the Columbia River.

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