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The decisions on fish are made through different series of allocation processes. For the Columbia, the process for spring chinook starts in September and finishes in February. Fall chinook seasons are created in the "North of Falcon" process in the spring.
Overall, there is a strong feeling in the air that the commercials are given such good seasons (for their fleet size and poor economics) because of their primary location on the lower columbia. I assess it as a subsidy of those communities, which by any measure, are not in the best of shape. While I see it as potentially nobal gesture, it shortchanges the greater public, as well as the sport license holder--my opinion again.

Tell you what though, I am not for fish wheels of any kind. There is a silver lining in gill nets. Because their mortality is high, they get in and out of the river fairly quickly--leaving a lot of fish behind to add quality to a shortened sport fishery. Go to wheels, and our season will certainly be longer, but the harvest potential of the wheels is enormous--they don't miss many and again we'll pay the price in quality of our fishery.

There are two good options for the future. Keep the nets, but place a sport priority on the fishery---commercial harvest only becomes an option after a secured quality sport fishery. Or #2, buy them out and be done with it. Of the two, a sport priority makes the most sense to me because in years when sport harvest cannot get the hatchery fish out, they should be harvested commercially (high, muddy water, etc). Also, in the case of silver salmon, the sport fishery is unable to harvest fish at a rate neccessary to justify production, hence a commercial harvest makes sense again (once the silvers get past B-10, they don't bite well at all, if you swamp hatcheries, cuts to production are sure to follow)

Overall , I'm not against nets or commercial, I just beleive there needs to be a sport priority. Get top dollar first (sport economics) and then if there is harvest still available, clean-up with commercial (commercial economics)
 
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