Bistate discussion starts Friday on restructuring lower Columbia fisheries

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

Published:

 

OLYMPIA — The first bistate meeting to discuss moving gillnets to off-channel areas in the lower Columbia River will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday in room No. 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E.

Called the Columbia River Fisheries Management Workgroup, the session will include Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission members Rollie Schmitten, Larry Carpenter and Conrad Mahnken plus Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission members Bobby Levy, Bob Webber and Michael Finley.

Nine citizen advisers also are part of the work group.

Washington advisers include Greg Johnson, a commercial fisherman; Heath Heikkila, government affairs adviser for the Coastal Conservation Association; Robert Sudar, a commercial fish buyer, and Mike Bireley of the Tri-State Steelheaders

Oregon advisers include Bruce Buckmaster and Jim Wells of Salmon For All, Jim Bridwell of the Coastal Conservation Association, Jim Martin, conservation of Pure Fishing, and Peter Huhtala, chairman of the Clatsop County commissioners.

Martin is former fisheries chief of the Oregon Departmentof Fish and Wildlife.

Last month, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber asked the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to restructure the fisheries in the lower Columbia. The process is intended as an alternative to Oregon ballot Measure 81, which would ban gillnetting and tangle nets on the Oregon side of the Columbia.

Friday’s meeting is open to the public.

Oregon has a new website with information regarding the process. The address is http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/LMCR_fisheries_mgmt_reform.asp.

Washington also had a new site for the process. That address is http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/lower_columbia/.

A second meeting is scheduled Oct. 22 in Portland.