state fish and wildlife commissions will continue their discussions looking for
next steps in reforming salmon management on the Columbia River.
Joint-State Columbia River Salmon Fishery Policy Review Committee, which has
been formed by the Washington and Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissions, is
working to find common ground on ways to achieve policy goals adopted in 2013
for jointly managed fisheries, according to a January 29 Washington news
committee includes three commissioners from Washington and three from Oregon.
They held one public meeting in mid-January and will meet three more times –
two in February and one in March – before each Commission will meet separately
to discuss state policy changes.
meetings are designed to give representatives from the two commissions a chance
to share their ideas, according to Ryan Lothrop, Washington Department of Fish
and Wildlife Columbia River Policy Coordinator. The public will have an
opportunity to voice opinions about joint proposals when they are discussed by
the full commissions in each state.
three meetings are:
Feb. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife's (WDFW) regional office at 5525 S. 11th St. in Ridgefield, Wash.
Feb. 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at main office of the Oregon Department of Fish
and Wildlife at 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. S.E. in Salem, Ore.
March 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at WDFW's regional office at 5525 S. 11th St.
in Ridgefield, Wash.
first public meeting held in mid-January was set up to schedule the next
meetings and the process for the workgroup, Lothrop said. Commissioners
requested several assignments based on various options to move towards
concurrency and will discuss this at the Feb. 6 meeting in Ridgefield.
staff presented at a joint-public meeting Nov. 1, 2018, a draft evaluation of
the two-state Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy that was enacted to
assure recreational anglers would receive a larger portion of the non-tribal
harvest allocation of salmon and steelhead and that removed commercial
gillnetters from the mainstem of the river.
evaluation determined that the large economic benefits expected from the
policy, also known as Columbia River harvest reform, have not been realized. It
said that alternative gear and select areas for commercial fishermen have not
materialized to the extent planned and that there have been only marginal
benefits from changes to the catch allocation for anglers.
its evaluation, WDFW staff concluded that the expectations the Washington Fish
and Wildlife Commission had when it adopted the policy in 2013 have not been
met, according to the evaluation summary.
five-year performance review of the policy of 2013 is recently finalized. It
called for management changes ranging from mandatory use of barbless hooks to a
phase-out of commercial gillnets in the main channel of the Columbia River.
said the review found that the states had made progress in implementing some of
aspects of the policy, but that progress in other areas had not met expectations.
intent of the joint working group is to improve the management of the Columbia
River," Lothrop said. "Having differences in policies in joint waters
presents real challenges in managing, implementing and enforcing
Comprehensive Evaluation of the Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy
is available on WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/02029/.
intent of these meetings is to discuss what each state has learned since 2013,
review a variety of scenarios to improve concurrency between the two states and
determine what potential changes could occur for both short and long-term. To
take effect, any new proposals endorsed by the committee would require approval
by the full fish and wildlife commissions in each state, Lothrop said.
the two state policies were identical, but that changed in 2017 when Oregon
realized the economic benefits of the policy and some of the policy promises to
expand off-channel gillnetting and move to alternative fishing gear had not
come to pass. Oregon continued to allow some fall fishing for commercial
gillnetters in the mainstem of the river below Bonneville Dam.
the two state policies are very similar, here is how they differ:
The two states have more in common for spring fishing (targeting spring
chinook) than not, Jones said. Both allocate fish 80 percent to recreational
anglers and 20 percent to commercial fishermen. Where they differ is that
Oregon allows the use of tangle nets in the mainstem river, but only after a
run size update that would forecast a higher run than the preseason forecast.
Washington does not allow mainstem gillnetting. An unused allocation from
commercial fishers goes to escapement, whereas Washington doesn’t speak to it.
Fishing for summer chinook, both states allocate 80/20. They differ in that
Oregon allows any unused commercial allocation to go to escapement, whereas
Washington transfers unused commercial catch to upriver (above Bonneville Dam)
Fishing for fall chinook, which is generally a larger run, Oregon splits the
allocation 70 percent for anglers and 30 percent for gillnetters and gillnets
are allowed upstream of the Lewis River on the mainstem. The Washington
allocation was 75/30 in 2018, but that changes to 80/20 next year. In 2018,
gillnets were allowed upstream of the Lewis River in Washington, but they will
not be allowed next year.
The two states are concurrent when it comes to coho salmon regulations under
initial meetings will work within a short timeframe for possible 2019 changes
in order to give policy direction to the fishery managers as the salmon
season-setting process begins this spring," Lothrop said.
meetings are to improve concurrency in joint waters that the two states manage
as that will provide more assurances on what is to come for anglers and
commercial fishers, help with enforcement resources, and make management more
streamlined,” he said.
added that attendees should contact their commissioners and pay attention to
the Commission agenda starting in March as that is the timeline for the first
step that any changes would occur.
process is likely to take longer to work on longer term issues (i.e., sport
allocation of spring chinook for upriver and down river, barbless hooks,
alternative gear development),” Lothrop said.
CBB, November 2, 2018, “Evaluation Of Columbia River Harvest Reforms Shows
Expected Economic Benefits Have Not Materialized,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441755.aspx
CBB, February 17, 2017, “ODFW Reopens Harvest Rules Focused On Phasing Out
Mainstem Gillnets Below Bonneville,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438356.aspx
January 27, 2017, “Oregon Harvest Reforms Differ From Washington In How Much
Gillnetting Allowed,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438251.aspx
January 19, 2017, “Washington Votes To Move Forward With Columbia River Harvest
Changes, Oregon To Consider Similar Plan,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438209.aspx