Thursday, January 27, 2022
Jan. 27, 2022

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Fishers protest Washington’s recreational ban

The Columbian
Published:
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Fishers on Saturday morning protested Washington's ban on recreational fishing amid the stay-at-home order.
Fishers on Saturday morning protested Washington's ban on recreational fishing amid the stay-at-home order. (Courtesy of Justin Bergen) Photo Gallery

Fishers in about a dozen boats gathered on the Columbia River near the Interstate 5 Bridge Saturday morning to protest the state’s recreational fishing ban.

Boaters waved signs saying “let us fish” and received honks from passing cars and people walking along the riverbank.

Vancouver resident Justin Bergen, an avid angler who participated in Saturday’s rally, noted that Washington is the only state with an outright ban on recreational fishing and clam digging to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Other states have put restrictions in place. In Washington, people can go out on the water in their boats but cannot cast a line to fish, Bergen said.

“We think that’s a bit of a stretch,” he said.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife closed fishing, hunting and razor clam digging to coincide with Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy order.

Groups have held rallies in Spokane and the Tri-Cities demonstrating against the ban, which has generated criticism and pressure from fishers. Bergen said he would like to see a common sense solution to reopening fishing in a way that maintains social distancing.

“It’s kind of my therapy,” he said. “Let us get out on the water. Let us get outside.”

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