Starting January 1, 2014, all salmon, steelhead and sturgeon anglers of the Columbia River Basin were required to purchase a Columbia River Basin endorsement for $9.75. This fee was for both retention and catch and release anglers in addition to the necessary fishing license.
According to the Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) website, “the endorsement helps fund the transition of non-tribal commercial gill nets out of the mainstem Columbia River into enhanced off-channel areas, freeing up additional salmon and steelhead for sport fishing.”
Despite recreational anglers fulfilling their end of the requirement for the past three years, ODFW undermined the trust and relationship they have with Oregon sportsmen and women. On Friday, January 20th the ODFW commission voted 4-3 to allow gillnets to remain on the mainstem of the Columbia River indefinitely.
As a result, if the transition continues to breakdown and the promises by ODFW in 2013 are not fulfilled, the Oregon Outdoor Council is calling for ODFW to refund every sportsman and woman who paid for the Columbia River Basin endorsement.
While the Oregon Outdoor Council understand the interest and desire to perpetuate the commercial fishery in Oregon, Oregon sportsmen and women do not deserve the track record of broken promises by ODFW.