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Oregon Elections Division Certifies Two Proposed Non-Indian Gill-Net Ban Initiative Titles
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2011 (PST)

The Oregon Elections Division on Thursday released two “certified” initiative titles for proposals that would, if added to the Nov. 6 ballot and approved by voters, restrict and/or eliminate commercial fishing by non-tribal Oregon fishermen in the Columbia River and other “inland waters.”


The certified ballot title for “Protect Our Salmon – A” is as follows:


“Eliminates Oregonians Columbia River non-tribal commercial fishing; prohibits Oregonians purchase of non-tribal Columbia River fish.”


Approval of the proposed ballot measure “eliminates non-tribal Oregon, but not Washington, commercial fishing in the Columbia River; prohibits Oregonians from buying fish caught in Columbia River by non-tribal persons,” according to the “result of a ‘yes’ vote” summation prepared by the Oregon Attorney General’s Office for the Elections Division.


The final ballot titles and summaries are in the books but both “Protect Our Salmon -- A” and “Protect Our Salmon – B” – “Restricts Oregon’s non-tribal commercial salmon fishers to designated off-channel areas in lower Columbia River” – could still face obstacles. Any elector dissatisfied with the ballot tiles may petition the Oregon Supreme Court for a different title. The appeal period ends at 5 p.m. Dec. 22.


If no appeals are submitted, the initiative process would move forward. The petitioners would have to collect the signatures of 87,213 registered voters by July 6 to get the initiatives on next year’s general election ballot.


The proposed initiatives are the second and third submitted this year by the Coastal Conservation Association, a non-profit organization whose strength is drawn from the tens of thousands of recreational saltwater anglers. Chief petitioners are state Sens. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, and Rod Monroe, D-Portland and David Schamp, chairman of the Oregon CCA chapter’s board of directors.


A similar initiative proposal was launched in July. It was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which has yet to respond. (See CBB, Sept. 23, 2011, “Battle Over Ballot Title For Oregon Non-Indian Gill-Net Ban Goes To State Supreme Court”


Initiative proposals are submitted to the Elections Division. They are then submitted to the Attorney General’s Office, which crafts language it believes best adheres to the appropriate legal standards. The initiative proposals can be found at:


The certified ballot title summary for “Protect Our Salmon – A” reasons that “Currently, Oregon and Washington commercial fishers may catch salmon in the Columbia River only with gillnets. Current law allows ‘wholesaler, canner or buyer’ to purchase or receive salmon/other fish caught with gillnets; allows issuance of up to 200 Columbia River gillnet fishing permits, allows renewing and transferring current permits.


“Measure eliminates non-tribal Oregon commercial fishing for salmon/other fish by banning gillnets in Oregon’s ‘inland waters’, including the Columbia River. Washington-permitted commercial fishers may continue fishing with gillnets on the Columbia River.


“Measure prohibits Oregonians from purchasing non-tribally caught fish taken from Columbia River or other Oregon ‘inland waters’….”


The “Protect Our Salmon – 2” certified ballot title “Result of a Yes vote” description says approval would prohibit “commercial salmon fishing with gillnets by non-tribal Oregon fishers, except in specifically designated off-channel areas located in the lower Columbia River.”


Those off-channel areas now include Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel and Blind Slough/Knappa Slough.


“Measure would not prohibit Washington-permitted gillnet fishers from continuing to commercially fish in Washington waters of Columbia river” allows [Washington Fish and Wildlife] commission to permit Washington gillnet fishers to ‘land’ fish in designated Oregon areas,” according to the Protect Our Salmon – 2 ballot title summary.


Summaries for both proposed initiatives specify that voter passage would not affect tribal fishing rights or rights to use gillnets.

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