Today’s Catch: This Just In

In December of
last year, as a gift to the recreational fishing industry, the Oregon Fish and
Wildlife commission voted to ban commercial gillnets on the mainstem of the
Columbia River. The following month, the Washington State Fish and Wildlife
Commission followed suit.

month a judge in Oregon ordered the state to stop the implementation of that
state’s gillnet ban after two commercial fishermen filed a petition asking the
court to invalidate the plan. In Washington a group of gillnet fishermen has
filed a petition with Washington’s Superior Court to review that state’s ban
and “seek the court’s determination that the regulation is invalid.” The
petition states 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.”

January the US Department of Commerce publishes a report on fisheries economics
of the United States. The most recent report, which uses two-year-old data to
allow for data collection, analysis and peer review, offers some statistics on
the commercial and recreational fisheries along the Pacific Coast. The data is
in stark contrast to the reports promoted by the state of Washington that have
been discredited as incomplete by none other than the Director of the
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife himself.

the state would like accurate data, here are some of the numbers tabulated by
the Federal Government:

had the highest landings revenue in the region with $331 million in 2011,
followed by California ($201 million) and Oregon ($148 million).

2011, the Pacific Region’s seafood industry generated $8 billion in sales
impacts in Washington, while the state’s recreational fisheries (which have
declined by 28 percent since 2002) contributed $514 million.

report also notes that the seafood sales and processing in Washington brought
annual receipts of $18 million, while seafood product preparation and packaging
employed almost 8,000 full- and part-time workers with an annual payroll of
$344 million.

commercial fisheries employed more than 67,000 people and brought more than $8
billion in sales revenue and almost $3.3 billion in added value, while the
recreational fishery employed fewer than 5,000 people and saw sales and added
value combined of less than $800 million, or roughly seven percent of the value
of the commercial fishery.

press time, Miranda Wecker, Gary Douvia and Chuck Perry continue to serve on
the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission, although their terms expired
more than three months ago. Because of the three impending vacancies on the
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, the commercial fishing industry has an
opportunity to finally have a voice on the commission. Bruce Botka, in the
office of Community Outreach and Public Affairs for the Department of Fish
& Wildlife has offered guidance on applying or nominating others to serve
on the Fish and Wildlife Commission:

who wish to apply personally may do so online through this link on Governor
Inslee’s website:

who wish to nominate one or more candidates should email Molly Keenan, who is
coordinating the appointment process. Her address is
It’s most helpful if such emails contain brief biographical information about
each person nominated. Assuming those people are interested in serving, they
should follow up by completing the online application.

Botka assures us that Governor Inslee will appreciate hearing from the