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Oregon Supreme Court Certifies Ballot Titles For Banning Non-Indian Commercial Gill Netting
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 (PST)

The Oregon Supreme Court on Monday issued opinions certifying wording for ballot titles for a trio of initiatives aimed at banning commercial non-Indian gill-net fishing on the mainstem Columbia River.


Opinions for two of the initiatives were returned to the state Elections Division with final court judgments, which ends the high court’s involvement.


A spokeswoman for the Elections Division said the third ballot title and summary, which was actually the first filed, was certified by Supreme Court opinion but was not accompanied by a court judgment, which is needed to advance the process. The timeline under which a judgment might be delivered is uncertain.


In certifying the ballot titles the court denied claims by tribes and commercial fishers that said the proposed language violated the constitution. The tribes and fishers had appealed ballot titles developed by the state Attorney General’s Office.


The Elections Division has for two of the proposals sent the necessary paperwork to the petitioners and is awaiting the petitioners request to launch a petition drive.


The petitioners, led by the Coastal Conservation Association, now say they will choose which of the three initiatives to move forward with signature gathering. To get the issue on the Nov. 6, 2012 Oregon general election ballot the organization must collect the signatures of 87,213 supporters – all registered voters – and deliver them to the Elections Division by July 6.


“We’d like to get out there by mid-April,” CCA Pacific Northwest executive director Bryan Irwin said of the start of a signature collection campaign.


The initial proposal was submitted to the state Elections Division July 18, 2011, by the CCA, a non-profit organization made up in large part 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. The same petitioners filed the second and third gill-net ban initiative proposals on Nov. 28.


“All three would take gill nets out of the path of listed salmon” on the lower Columbia downstream of Bonneville Dam, Irwin said. All exclude treaty tribes from the prohibitions. Tribal commercial fishing takes place above the dam.


The first initiative filed would ban the use of gill nets by non-Indian commercial fishers but allow the use of seines that would potentially allow the release of wild fish unharmed. The second bans gill nets without a provision for seine use, and the third would ban gill-net use on the mainstem Columbia but allow their use in off-channel areas, Irwin said.


The initiative proposals and ballot titles summaries, as well as the Oregon Supreme Court opinions, can be found at:


Protect Our Salmon Act 2012


Protect Our Salmon Act – A


Protect Our Salmon Act – B


For more information see:


-- CBB, Aug, 12, 2011, “Comments On Oregon Gill-Net Initiative Title Stress Constitutional Issues, Interstate Compact”


-- CBB, Sept. 23, 2011, “Battle Over Ballot Title For Oregon Non-Indian Gill-Net Ban Goes To State Supreme Court”


-- CBB, Dec. 2, 2011, “Oregon Supreme Court Mulls Gill-Net Ban Title; 2 More ‘Backup’ Titles Proposed For Nov. 2012 Ballot”


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