PORTLAND, Ore. -- Voters have rejected a measure aimed at prohibiting gillnets for nontribal commercial fishermen on the Columbia River.
The measure faced an uphill climb after the recreational fishing groups who supported it reversed their position. After the measure qualified for the ballot, the proponents got behind a compromise pushed by Gov. John Kitzhaber that would prohibit gillnets only on the main stem of the Columbia.
Gillnets snag salmon by the gills and are the only legal way to fish commercially on the Columbia. Gillnet critics say they're harmful to endangered fish.
Commercial fishermen argue that opposition to gillnets is driven by sport fishers who want to catch more fish.