The Oregon Court of Appeals on Monday issued an order granting a stay pending judicial review of new rules for gillnetters on the Columbia River.
In December, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife adopted a plan suggested by Oregon Governor Kitzhaber that made sweeping changes in management of salmon allocations on the Columbia River.
Among the many provisions, the plan shifted commercial gillnetters from the mainstem to select area side channels; the plan encouraged adoption of other commercial fishing methods such as seining on the mainstem, and it gave recreational fishers high allocation priorities for salmon stocks.
The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted similar rules in January.
Commercial fishers said the new rules would make it economically unfeasible for them to continue their business.
Two, Steve Fick and James Wells, and Fishhawk Fisheries, Inc., filed a challenge to the Oregon rules, and on Monday, the Court of Appeals granted the stay.
The order notes that the court has authority to grant relief as necessary to preserve its jurisdiction or to prevent irreparable harm.
"Petitioners have made a prima facie showing that irreparable harm will result to themselves and others unless enforcement of the administrative rules is stayed pending judicial review," the order says. "They have also made a prima facie showing of a substantial likelihood of prevailing on judicial review.
"Respondent Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has not opposed the motion, nor has any anti-gill netting interest group moved to intervene and oppose the motion. Therefore the motion is granted and enforcement of administrative rule is stayed pending disposition of this judicial review."
A source in the commercial fishing industry said a similar suit against Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife would be discussed Wednesday at a meeting of Salmon For All, a commercial fisher’s lobbying group.