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Originally published Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

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Wash. considers banning gillnets on Columbia River

Commercial fishermen in Washington and Oregon say a proposal to ban gillnets from the main stem of the lower Columbia River would destroy their livelihood, while supporters say the plan would conserve salmon.

The Associated Press

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TUMWATER, Wash. —

Commercial fishermen in Washington and Oregon say a proposal to ban gillnets from the main stem of the lower Columbia River would destroy their livelihood, while supporters say the plan would conserve salmon.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission heard from dozens of speakers on the issue at its meeting Saturday.

Commissioners are considering a contentious proposal to phase out the use of gillnets by non-tribal fishers on the main river by 2017. The proposed rules would relegate the primary commercial-fishing tool to side channels and tributaries.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved similar rules on Dec. 7.

A work group assembled by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber recommended the gillnet ban and other changes to salmon and sturgeon fisheries in the lower Columbia River. The group included representatives from Oregon and Washington.

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