Sport fishermen: Unite
September 23, 2021
To The Eagle:
Commercial fishing interests are at it again. Another salmon net pen is being proposed for installation where the Elochoman River meets the Columbia. Placement as proposed would ensure that it would interfere with sports fishermen who fish out of Cathlamet using the Elochoman Marina.
There currently is a working net pen on the east side of Cathlamet. The Nassa Point net pen gathers the salmon who have made it that far, separates the non-fin clipped fish, lets them go and prepares the others for market. Those fish sent to market are clipped hatchery fish, and a good argument can be made, that since the majority of fishermen and women are not commercial procurers, those fish should be made available to the sports community that pays large amounts to pursue salmon before being subjected to commercial trapping. Just a casual glance towards the Columbia River during our short seasons shows many sport boats costing upwards of $20-150 thousand dollars. We sports people spend thousands of dollars for gas, lures, community services in general. If you can think of it, the area has probably benefitted more from sportspeople than one commercial boat running back and forth to a fish trap.
It is the same people, using the same language that professes another trap is needed for research and management. BS.
A net trap at the mouth of the Elochoman will unnecesarily harass and eliminate fish that may be the bulk of what are known of in the fishing world as “biters” or “keepers” if clipped. So, let us siphon off the hatchery fish that may include some biters, before the sport people even get a chance. Let the public fish on non-clipped fish that have to be released. I say not.
This net pen is at the beginning of the permitting process, and it will take strong public intervention, if sports fishing is to continue un-harrassed in the lower Columbia River. Only vigilant attention and public intervention is going to keep biters coming your way, and it is not by trapping them first.
Contact the Wahkiakum County commissioners and let it be known that this is not a good idea. These commissioners have already let their side be known. Last year they decided it was necessary to send a letter in support of gill netting, not in support of sports people and all the dollars brought into Cathlamet by fisher people. The short seasons and the lower Columbia receiving less and less consideration in sport season setting has hurt the income stream at the marina. There is a meeting this Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 6 p.m., the Wahkiakum County courthouse. Let’s get some sportsmen there and say what you got to say. The public has got to start insisting on inclusion, more than just lip service, in salmon management. The failure it is in most rivers down here is blatantly obvious; our rivers are bare and sterile to tell the truth. Salmonoids beware of nets. See you 9/23 at 6 p.m.