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Fisherman Finds Several Dead Wild Steelhead Near John Day

In case you thought gillnets weren’t a problem on the Columbia River, here is a lesson for you.

The Coastal Conservation Association, a non-profit organization that advocates for sustainable fishery policies with an active Yakima chapter, shared this bone chilling picture during an abysmal steelhead run.

It is scenes like this that clearly illustrate a “Tragedy of the Commons” unfolding right under our watch.

This incident was caught by a CCA Oregon member as he launched his boat at the John Day boat ramp outside of Astoria, Oregon.

The fisherman noticed a dead steelhead along the muddy river bank with clear gillnet marks along its body. As he looked around more closely, he found several other dead steelhead below the surface of the water. He was able to net one of the other dead steelhead and confirmed multiple gillnet lacerations. He alerted the Oregon State Police and they collected the dead steelhead and reported that they were investigating the incident.

CCA Oregon also alerted ODFW and OSP managers of this incident that appears to be a fish dump. While it is too early to tell for certain, this deserves serious scrutiny.

To understand the drastically low returns this year, consider that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says just 54,000 upriver steelhead will return in 2017 after the preseason forecast was 112,100 on the Snake River alone.

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