Olympia this week became the battleground in commercial fishermen's efforts to stop a plan to move gillnetters off the lower Columbia River's mainstem.
Last fall, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber proposed the plan that also, among other things, gives recreational anglers priority in salmon allocations. The fish and wildlife commissions of Oregon and Washington have adopted the plan, and gillnetters have filed court action in both states to challenge implementation of the plan.
Washington gillnetters originially filed their action in Wahkiakum County earlier this month but found they had to move the case to Thurston County in order to file suit against the state.
The plaintiffs say that the Washington commission exceeded its authority by adopting the rules because it conflicts with the commission’s mandate to “maintain a stable fishing industry in the state.” Plaintiffs say they will suffer irreparable economic harm if forced to move to the side channels.
Wahkiakum County commissioners this week joined the fray by voting to send a letter to the state fish and wildlife commission to support the gillnetters position.
Commissioners also noted that the appointments of three fish and wildlife commission members--Miranda Wecker, Gary Douvia and Chuck Perry--have expired. They voted to send a letter to Governor Jay Inslee to nominate Wahkiakum residents Bill Faubion, Lisa Marsyla and Lori Scott. Faubion, the county's district court judge, is an active sportsman; Marsyla is a former county commissioner who has been involved in the fishing industry, and Scott is a member of the board of commissioners of Port District No. 2.