Bipartisan bill would end gillnetting

first_imgA bipartisan group of 24 Washington senators led by Jesse Salomon, D-Shoreline, introduced a bill Friday that requires ending the practice of using non-tribal gill nets to harvest salmon in the Columbia River.Senate Bill 5617 would also expand harvest reforms statewide, including in Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and Puget Sound. It requires an end to gillnetting by 2023.“At a time when Washington’s two most iconic creatures, orca and salmon, are at critically low levels, this bill represents an important part of the solution.” said Salomon, chief author of the legislation.The Columbia River harvest reforms were put into place to provide enhanced conservation benefits to the 13 endangered stocks in the Columbia Basin, while maximizing harvest of abundant hatchery and healthy wild stocks and the economic benefits of healthy fisheries for the region.It took years of negotiation between Columbia River salmon stakeholders to craft the reforms. They were set to be fully implemented by 2017, but a key conservation component, a buyout of the gillnet fleet, has languished.last_img