Hold WDFW Accountable for the failed Gillnet Buyback Program

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As you may have heard, WDFW has completely mismanaged the voluntary non-tribal gillnet buyback in the lower Columbia River, passed in 2022 by the WA Legislature and Governor Inslee for salmon conservation. While we could focus on the fiscal mismanagement-end of this story alone, the most egregious act by WDFW has been their complete failure to implement the bill's key conservation measures designed to benefit wild salmon recovery. 

WDFW has dispersed all $14.4 million of the public's salmon recovery investment directly to the pockets of the non-tribal commercial fishing industry, and has completely failed to implement all of the bill's key salmon conservation measures (e.g., setting aside the purchased allocation for increased wild salmon escapement). WDFW's actions are in direct conflict with the wishes of the public and the intent of the WA Legislature and Governor Inslee that passed this voluntary non-tribal gillnet buyback "for conservation through increased wild salmonid escapement or mark selective fisheries" (ESSB 5953).

Why would WDFW choose to ignore the conservation elements and manage the non-tribal gillnet buyback in this manner? There is no other logical answer: Industry influence over fisheries management.

Our Primary Objective:

Encourage the Commission to direct WDFW to:

  1. Fully implement the buyback bill approved by the Legislature and the Governor.

  2. Permanently reserve the non-tribal gillnet fishery impacts/allocation saved from the purchase of gillnet licenses as intended for conservation through increased wild salmonid escapement or mark-selective commercial fisheries.

  3. Communicate with the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission to achieve concurrent policy that more meaningfully allows for mark-selective fishing with alternative commercial fishing gears in non-tribal lower Columbia River fisheries.

  4. Ensure that the public’s $14.4 million investment in salmon conservation functions to preserve, protect, and perpetuate wild salmon.


Sign onto this action alert and demand that the Commission act immediately!


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