Oregon state senator proposes outlawing gillnetting [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Oregon state senator proposes outlawing gillnetting

02-13-2009, 08:28 PM
This is awesome! We can only hope it passes and becomes law.

Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) introduced legislation Tuesday that would create a four pronged approach to bolstering Oregon’s deteriorating salmon and steelhead runs. The foundation of the plan is to outlaw gillnetting in Oregon. “Doing nothing is not an option when it comes to Oregon’s devastated salmon runs,” said Girod. “We have to make tough decisions. These four proposals will help to strengthen and protect what is not only one of our state’s great natural resources but also a steady source of jobs to hundreds of local communities.”
The Girod Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan is built on four main proposals:

1. Outlaw gillnetting (SB 524). Gillnetting doesn’t discriminate between species and devastates all fish runs, not just the fish being targeted. A conversion to hook-and-line fishing only would give unwanted fish a chance to survive and increase the number of salmon in Oregon rivers.

2. Control predators (SJM 7). Girod also wants to control voracious predators that consume significant portions of salmon populations, like cormarants and sea lions. There were 1,000 sea lions when salmon runs were at their peak. Now there are over 300,000 sea lions.

3. Police offshore fishing by foreign fleets (SJM 8). Foreign fishing fleets currently fish uninhibited off the Oregon coast, despite federal limitations. The Coast Guard needs to be more aggressive about limiting foreign fishing in Oregon waters.

4. Allocate more money for researching smolt health and habitat (SB 525). There is much that remains unknown about the ideal methods and habitat for raising smolt, or baby fish. More research can help hatcheries adopt healthier practices and increase the odds of smolt surviving to adulthood.

“The ecosystem is out of balance right now, and salmon runs are the losers,” said Girod. “We need to adjust our hatchery science, control predators and make sure we are fishing in a responsible way.” The sports fishing industry is one of the economies most affected by declining salmon and steelhead populations. Sports fishing represents a cottage industry of small businesses that manufacture boats, rods and lures, grow and sell bait and offer guide services. There are an estimated 300,000 sports fishermen in Oregon whose hobby means real and lasting jobs in local economies.

“As long as giant gil nets wreck havoc on Oregon salmon populations we will not have sustainable fish runs,” said Walt McGovern, an Oregon fishing legend who helped lead the struggle to protect steelhead. “Senator Girod’s bill would bring balance to fish and hatchery management on the Columbia River. I’ve helped Senator Girod land steelhead at Buoy 10, so his credentials on this issue are well established.”