Oregon governor offers gillnet plan for lower Columbia

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PORTLAND (AP) — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has called for phasing out nontribal commercial gillnet fishing in the main stem of the lower Columbia River.

In a Thursday letter to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the governor proposed that those gillnet fishermen transition to off-channel areas such as Youngs Bay.

The Oregonian reports that such areas are stocked with hatchery fish, so the theory is that gillnetters could still haul in a healthy harvest without inadvertently catching wild, endangered fish.

A proposal to ban the use of nontribal commercial gillnets in the Columbia is on Oregon's November ballot.

Stop Gillnets Now is a group behind Measure 81. A spokesman said the group would study Kitzhaber's proposal before commenting.