Action Center

Urgent: Oppose Amendment on Columbia River Gillnet Subsidy
Earlier this week, we alerted you to an amendment to strike a proposed Senate budget provision that would restrict non-tribal gillnetting in the mainstem lower Columbia River coupled with voluntary gillnet license buyback.  The amendment sought to replace it with a WDFW proposed gillnet license reduction subsidy intended to increase the profits of the gillnet industry.    

Thanks to your efforts, that amendment was withdrawn by Sen. Jeff Wilson (R-Longview), who spoke about the importance of salmon, as well as recreational and commercial fisheries prior to requesting it be withdrawn.    

Unfortunately, Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) is offering a similar amendment to the House budget (Amendment 506) that would add the gillnet license reduction subsidy to the House’s proposed budget. The Walsh amendment seeks to undermine the Senate provision ahead of final negotiations between the House and Senate. 

The amendment will be voted on today or tomorrow (Saturday), so we need you to immediately contact your Representatives to oppose Rep. Jim Walsh’s amendment # 506.  Please do this right away by clicking our pre-drafted email to your Representatives!


Background
The Washington State Senate’s proposed 2021-2023 operating budget includes $2 million to implement a voluntary buyback of Columbia River non-tribal gillnet licenses directly connected with the bi-state reforms to transition gillnets out of the lower mainstem Columbia River.  The provision would also reduce allowable non-tribal mainstem gillnetting, essentially blocking the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s recent reckless policy decision to drastically increase non-selective mainstem gillnetting in the spring, summer and fall while also decreasing recreational fishing opportunity across the basin. You can learn more in a recent coalition letter that outlines the importance of the Senate provision and the concerns with WDFW’s gillnet license reduction subsidy. 

Unfortunately, the Walsh amendment would adopt WDFW’s proposal to purchase inactive gillnet licenses with a goal of increasing the profitability of the gillnet industry, which does nothing for the conservation of our salmon and steelhead or improving the selectivity of lower Columbia River fisheries.  It also comes as WDFW is actively seeking to increase mainstem non-tribal gillnetting consistent with the Commission’s controversial policy.

We expect the amendment will be voted on later today or tomorrow, Saturday April 3, so we need you to immediately contact your Representatives to oppose the Rep. Jim Walsh amendment #506!

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