RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon voters will decide whether to ban commercial gillnet fishing this November.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State, petitioners seeking to push the measure to the November ballot received 94,304 valid signatures. Ballot measures must receive 87,000 signatures, for a statutory ballot measure.
Hobe Kytr is the spokesman for Salmon For All. The group opposes the ban. He says it’s not only the fishers who would be hurt by this measure.
“It will remove a $10 to $11 million contribution from lower river communities. It’s the people who work at the marine supply store. It’s the people who work at the processing houses,” Kytr says.
Supporters say the ban would replace gillnets with a more fish-friendly capture and release method called purse seining, which allows fishers to return wild salmon to the water.
Kytr says gillnet boats cannot be converted to seining boats. He says that would cost fishers about $100,000 in lost equipment. A vote initiative banned seine nets in the state in 1948.
Eric Stachon is the spokesman for the Stop Gillnets Now coalition. He says seine fishing catches fewer endangered fish.
“The problem with gillnets is that they indiscriminately catch and kill wild and threatened and endangered salmon, along with hatchery salmon that are reared for harvest,” Stachon says.
Kytr says seine nets catch more fish than gillnets.
Stachon says his group also worries about other bycatch animals caught in gillnets, like seals, otters and seabirds. He says more than 200 volunteers collected signatures throughout the state and will continue to campaign through November.
“We expect a big fight on our hands from the commercial gillnet industries,” Stachon says. “We don’t think it’s going to be an easy effort by any stretch.”
Initiative Petition 21 which would prohibit commercial non-tribal fishing with gillnets has qualified for the Nov ballot with 94,304 sigs.— Oregon Elections (@oregonelections) July 17, 2012
Congrats to David James for his winning submission, 'Annabella smelling the Balsam.'
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