Visit the No on Measure 81 Website

August 24th, 2012

Visitors to the Salmon For All website will notice a new button prominently displayed on the main page, saying Help Us Defeat 81! Ballot Measure 81 is the Oregon gillnet ban on the November ballot, to be decided by the voters of Oregon, rather than by fishery managers. It is a bad measure in every way: overly broad, poorly written, and sweeping in its attempt to grab the fishery resource for the recreational fishery at the expense of Oregon consumers and lower Columbia River commercial fishing families. Ballot box biology is a bad idea, which is why Oregon voters have defeated previous attempts to ban the gillnet fishery by initiative petition in 1964 and 1992. Ballot Measure 8 in 1992 was soundly rejected by the voters of Oregon. Washington voters also have defeated similar measures twice, rejecting I-640 in 1995 and I-696 in 1999.

Known as the “Protect Our Salmon Act of 2012,” Ballot Measure 81 is sponsored by the Oregon chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, or CCA. The CCA would have you believe it is a conservation organization, but its history and tactics reveal otherwise. The national Coastal Conservation Association had its beginings as the Gulf Coast Conservation Association, founded in 1977 by wealthy Texas oilmen. Its first chairman was Walter Fondren III, the heir to the Humble Oil fortune, and an Exxon executive. Fondren remained the chairman of the national CCA for many years. Those who are interested in the subject are encouraged to read Wetland Riders by Robert Fritchey (New Moon Press, Golden Meadow, Louisiana, 1993).  For a review, please see In it, Fritchey details the underhanded tactics used by the CCA in its extended campaign to limit or eliminate commercial fisheries across the Gulf Coast.

The link to Www.NoMeasure81.Com will take you to the No on Measure 81 campaign website, where you can find information on contributing to the battle to defeat Measure 81. If you depend on buying your salmon from the fish market, grocery store, or restaurant, Ballot Measure 81 is a bad idea for you. It will eliminate your access to locally sourced Columbia River salmon. If you treasure your taste of Columbia River spring Chinook, help us defeat Ballot measure 81 by contributing now. Measure 81 was put on the ballot by a wealthy, out-of-state multimillionaire. We don’t have a big bucks, high-roller financing our effort to protect your access to Columbia River salmon. But if we have enough grassroots support, we can prevail again, just as we have in the past. Together we are strong, and the truth is on our side. Approximately 94% of Oregonians are non-fishing consumers. Commercial fishermen fish for the consumers.

Some seem to think that now that Governor Kitzhaber has announced plans to move the gillnet fleet off the main stem and into off-channel terminal fisheries, all is lost. But, it most definitely is not. Governor Kitzhaber’s proposal is the “SAFE for Salmon” plan sponsored by the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, but rejected previously by the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission, and by the Oregon legislature, because it just didn’t make sense. It doesn’t jibe with the facts. The Governor’s proposal is a distraction from the real business at hand, which is defeating Ballot Measure 81. He can’t change the fact that Measure 81 is on the ballot. Defeating Measure 81 is Job No. 1. And you can help be a part of this effort.

6 Comments to “Visit the No on Measure 81 Website”

  1. Marilyn J. Leno said:

    I would like you to tell me WHERE you sell your fish….all the fish that I see in the markets say they are either farm raised or from Alaska…I NEVER see local Salmon for sell from the Commercial fishermen…now, how can you use the platform that the consumer will suffer? This measure is for OREGON not any other state we don’t care about any other state with this measure ONLY Oregon and the Columbia River in OREGON. Please explain this to me. We have 2 fishing boats totaling over $60,000, licenses for us to fish, licenses for our boats and trailers and trucks to haul the boats, all our gear and bait..etc….all to possibly get 1 salmon out of 10 outings yet you people are allowed in the river to vaccuum LARGE quantities of Salmon not to mention killing large amounts of other fish because of your KILL nets…why is this so hard for you people to understand…perserve the fish that you aren’t suppose to be catching by changing your nets!~

  2. SFA said:


    Thanks for posting a comment.

    You made your frustration and anger quite clear, even though from our perspective, you are also quite misinformed about how gillnet gear actually works. Gillnet gear is selectively managed by fishery managers using Time, Area, and Gear restrictions (TAG Selectivity) during most fisheries of the year. Only the spring Chinook fishery is managed using mark-selective regulations for all non-Indian fisheries. Most years, the commercial fishery uses tangle net gear combined with live recovery boxes to fish for spring Chinook. The tangle net has been extensively tested and shown to have a mortality rate comparable to the estimated mortality rate assigned to sport fishing gear during the spring season. But most of the year, our fishery is managed by fishing when and where target stocks are abundant, and stocks of concern are not. Just like the sport fishery, we have to live within impact limits due to ESA-listings. And the commercial fishery usually gets a lower share of the available impacts (unintended deaths of bycatch) than does the sport fishery. That translates into the sport fishery being allowed to kill more wild stocks and stocks of concern (impacts) than the commercial fishery. The two concepts go hand in hand.

    I am more intrigued by your question about where our fish are marketed, because it is a good one, which deserves an answer. I certainly know where I, as a consumer, can buy locally sourced Columbia River salmon. (And, yes, I am a consumer.) But it should come as no surprise that it is easy to find Columbia River salmon in the Astoria area, but it most definitely isn’t at Fred Meyer or Safeway. So I put the question to one of our processors. Most of our Columbia River salmon is sold in the Pacific Northwest, with a large part of it going to high-end restaurants. But, just as the Columbia River is a destination for sport anglers from across the nation, as well as being internationally renowned, a certain amount of commercially caught Columbia River salmon enters markets elsewhere on the West Coast and across the country. Is this fair? Yes, because the largest portion of fish program costs are derived from federal dollars. In 2009, according to ODFW, 86.2% of the costs of operating Oregon’s hatchery system was derived from the federal government. 9% came from the state’s General Fund. And only 1.1% came from sport license fees.

    That said, there are fish markets and groceries in Oregon that specialize in locally sourced fish. Frankly, there isn’t much spring Chinook to go around, and it is in high demand. A nice piece of spring Chinook will set you back about $30/lb in the fish market, if you can find it. I can’t afford that, so most years, I go without. At a high-end restaurant, Columbia River spring Chinook goes for $40-$50 a plate, but only if it is from the main stem. Restaurateurs regard Select Area spring Chinook as a poor substitute for the real thing.

    It seems to me that the best way to overcome current limits on non-Indian fisheries is to emulate the Treaty Tribes, and work toward recovering healthy, harvestable stocks of naturally spawning salmon and steelhead, making more fish available for everybody to catch. Thanks for writing.

  3. brenda said:

    Note: The following has been edited to correct spelling and typos, but not for content. Some punctuation and capital letters also were added for ease of reading. The remarks are Brenda’s own.

    I would like to start by saying I have sport fished for many years and I was raised to believe gillnetters were the worst. They take all the salmon (some would say they sweep the river) and take large amounts of fish and lessen sports fishermen. Odd. And then the way the nets are [an] inhumane way to catch fish. Well now that I’ve seen the gillnetters’ side [of] fishing, I have to disagree. Gillnetters are only allowed a set amount of fish per season set by the fisheries. And if the fish count isn’t there, they are not allowed to fish. And every fish caught on the boat is account[ed] for. The buyer is right there at the dock when your boat comes in (and to be honest there lot of you sport fishermen that don’t punch your card every fish you caught). And when commercial boat catches the allotted amount, they’re done. And as far as the nets being inhumane, well don’t you think being hooked in the mouth with a large sharp hook and pulled in by your mouth is inhumane? And if your line breaks leaving the hook in their mouth, isn’t [that] inhumane? Fishing by net has been around for many years and this is the way some guys support their families. And if Oregon doesn’t allow Oregon permit holders to fish the Columbia River that also means Washington permit holders won’t either due to concurrent water according to WAC220-20-205. Both permits are equivalent to each other on concurrent water…

  4. SFA said:


    According to Oregon’s Attorney General, the rule of thumb for concurrent jurisdiction over the waters of the Columbia River under the Columbia River Compact is that “each state can enforce its laws on its side of the river, but can enforce its laws on the other state’s side of the river only if that state has a substantially similar law.” The way I read that is if Oregon bans gillnetting, but Washington doesn’t, fishermen with Washington permits could still fish with gillnets on Washington’s side of the river. But under Measure 81, fish legally caught with gillnets on Washington’s side of the Columbia River could not be purchased in Oregon by Oregon buyers, wholesalers, or consumers. Columbia River salmon are the best available anywhere, and a lot of consumers like me value them the most highly of all salmon. For me, not being able to buy a nice piece of Columbia River salmon because measure 81 would give sport fishermen sole access to them is distinctly unfair. Please join me in voting No on Measure 81.

  5. Dan Hanson said:

    The time has come to go the way of the steelhead in Oregon. t is now time to make salmon East of the Oregon coastline a game fish and end ALL non indian commercial fishing for them. There are plenty of Columbia River salmon harvested commercially in the ocean for the non anglers.

  6. SFA said:


    Thanks for posting a comment, though, obviously, I don’t agree with it.

    What has making steelhead a game fish done for steelhead? It hasn’t ended the long, slow slide of endangered wild steelhead stocks’ towards extirpation. Wild steelhead stocks are in worse shape now than they were in 1974, when steelhead were declared a game fish rather than a food fish.

    The commercial fishery is managed, and successfully I might add, to avoid handling steelhead. The best way to avoid killing steelhead is not to catch them in the first place. For instance, the commercial mark-selective fishery for spring Chinook has kept the incidental mortalities of wild winter steelhead to under 0.5% for the past ten years, based on hard data and a release mortality rate based on several years of scientific studies. On the other hand, release mortalities of wild winter steelhead in recreational mark-selective fisheries are estimated to be about 7%. I say estimated because recreational mortalities are not based on hard data. They are estimates only, based on estimated mortality rates not backed up by scientific studies. If that sounds like guesswork, that’s because it is.

    Recreational fisheries for steelhead have been entirely mark-selective for over three decades. During that time, sport angles have caught and released endangered wild steelhead stocks ever closer to extirpation. There is not evidence that mark-selective fisheries lead to recovery of wild salmonid populations. In fact, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

    I also do not share your preference for all commercial fisheries to be ocean fisheries. Don’t get me wrong, troll caught salmon are fine, but they mostly are immature fish caught in mixed stocks fisheries with salmon from multiple rivers and watersheds mixed together. I prefer mature salmon caught in-river. And the best salmon anywhere are those from the Columbia River. Why shouldn’t I have the right to buy and eat Columbia River salmon, especially since those fish swim right past my home on the banks of the mighty Columbia River? Recreational fishermen who buy salmon and steelhead tags comprise only about 6% of the total population of Oregon. Sport license fees only contribute about 1% of hatchery program costs, according to figures provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2009. Furthermore, most Columbia River Basin hatcheries are located in Washington. Why should Oregon sport fishermen have priority over fish originating in Washington. It doesn’t make any sense.

Leave a Comment