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Originally published Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM

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Oregon bans gillnets on Columbia; Wash. vote nears

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has voted to phase out the use of gillnets to catch salmon on the main stem of the Columbia River.

Associated Press

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PORTLAND, Ore. —

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has voted to phase out the use of gillnets to catch salmon on the main stem of the Columbia River.

The commission voted 4-2 on Friday. Washington's fish commission is scheduled to hear public testimony on the same rules next week and will decide the issue soon.

Gillnets snag salmon by the gills and are the primary method of commercial fishing on the Columbia. The ban will be phased in over a three-year period and will prioritize recreational fisheries on the river's main stem. By 2017, gillnets will be allowed only in side channels.

Gillnet critics say they're harmful to the recovery of endangered salmon. Commercial fishermen say they'll have trouble earning a living.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sought the changes to mediate a longstanding conflict between commercial and recreational fishers.

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