In a strongly-worded letter to ODFW Commission Chairman, Michael Finley, Governor Brown has requested the Commission reverse their previous ruling and instead implement rules that honor the commitments made to the sportfishing industry in the Columbia River Reforms. This is a big step in the right direction towards restoring confidence among recreational anglers and elected officials after the Commission deviated from the plan that had been agreed upon years earlier.
Governor Brown tells Chairman Finley that the previous ruling is “not acceptable” and insists that by April 3rd, the Commission adopt rules that both honor the commitment and are concurrent with Washington. The non-concurrent regulations presented massive enforcement issues with the river likely split down the middle and enforced separately, but concurrent regulations would allow equal enforcement like how both states have operated for the past century.
The Columbia River Reforms provided an assurance to the region’s $3 Billion dollar a year sportfishing industry and, by shifting gillnets to off-channel areas, affirmed to anglers that the long-term health of the endangered salmon and steelhead stocks were high priority. Unfortunately, that was lost following the Commission’s January 20th ruling that abruptly changed directions after years of buildup. This letter from Governor Brown restores some of that good faith.
Governor Brown has called on the Commission to adopt rules that align with her administration’s fishery management policies, Washington’s regulations, and the commitments made to anglers in SB 830. She goes on to explain that the ODFW staff recommendation balanced the economic and biological needs of the river, and suggests that the WDFW ruling would also be acceptable. Governor Brown has asked that the Commission change their direction by April 3rd.
Full Letter Below:Brown Letter