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Aug 7, 2006, Herald and News

Oregon allows trollers to catch a few more salmon

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Commercial salmon trollers in Oregon will be able to catch about 12,000 more chinook salmon than expected this season if they fish at the mouths of 10 Oregon rivers.

But that catch would be only a fraction of the number the fishermen would normally take, and it could be expensive to haul them in.

"It's a Band-Aid," said Ron Boyce, Oregon's ocean salmon program manager,

In a normal season, the trollers would expect to take hundreds of thousands of the chinook.

But this season, the federal government has restricted the salmon catch along 700 miles of California and Oregon to protect runs of the Klamath River chinook salmon.

The Oregon state government has followed suit in the waters it regulates, out to three miles from shore.

Last week, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission agreed to open a series of "bubble fisheries" at 10 river mouths along the coast, allowing trollers to haul in salmon from up to three miles out.

A bubble fishery allows regulators to be sure the salmon caught are returning to an Oregon river rather than to the Klamath, which empties along the California coast.

But the action didn't impress some trollers, who wanted the state to open all its waters.

"It's a joke," said Newport troller Kevin Bastien.

The state had already opened up two of the river mouths to such bubble fisheries, he said. And bubble fisheries don't offer enough options, especially if it means paying more for fuel to travel to a distant river mouth, where other fishermen are sure to be crowding the water, he said.

"I'm not going to move my boat from Newport to Brookings to maybe catch two or three fish a day," Bastien said. "If it was all state waters, that'd be a different thing. This is no bonus."


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