Drought hit Willapa Bay salmon runs hard this year while questions remain about how a new commercial salmon fishing policy affects local fishermen.

At a recent meeting at Naselle High School, representatives from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife expected to field questions regarding the die-off of approximately 10,000 salmon below the Naselle Hatchery due to low stream flow and other drought-related factors this fall.

Instead, they spent most of the time hearing concerns from commercial gillnet fishermen living on both sides of the Columbia River regarding the salmon fishing policy that went into effect earlier this year.

The concerns were pretty much the same as what both fishermen and seafood processors stated before the policy went into effect, according to Steve Thiesfeld, regional fish program manager for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. But he believes the policy is sound.

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