Commercial fishermen have reiterated their disgruntlement with the Columbia River reforms adopted two years ago by the Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions.
At a public hearing earlier this month in Tumwater before the Washington commission, several leaders in the lower Columbia commercial community made their unhappiness with the reforms known.
Vern Forsberg of Ridgefield said there has been commercial fishing in the Columbia River for 170 years. Netting methods have evolved, management of commercial fishing has evolved and recent years have shown record-high fall chinook returns.
“All this is thrown away because of one man in Oregon,’’ Forsberg said, referring to Gov. John Kitzhaber. “The gillnet has been a good tool for management.”
Forsberg has been involved for four years in the seine testing program. He estimated he’s made 700 seine sets.
“I think we all know it’s only going to work for a few boats in a few spots,’’ he said. “There’s no way to know yet what’s going to happen to the rest of the people.’’
Gillnets can be fished early and late in the season, harvesting salmon from the leading edge and the tail of the run, he said.
But seining will work only in the peak of the salmon runs.
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