ODFW proposal could end some fishing on coastal rivers

COOS COUNTY, Ore. -- It's a proposal that could end fishing opportunities for hatchery salmon in the Milicoma, as well as eliminate the hatchery steelhead program on the South Coos and Coquille rivers.

The South Coast Anglers STEP Association held a public meeting this Saturday, due to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's proposed Coastal Conservation Management Plan.

ODFW is considering getting rid of a number of salmon and steelhead hatchery programs that run through STEP, and on Saturday, opinions about the proposed plan flared.

Bruce Bertrand from the STEP Association, says either side can cite studies to make their case. "What you have, is an ideological battle of philosophy," he said. "Science can be used to support one side or the other side. You can pick this study or you can find another study."

From environmental to economic impacts, from the science behind hatchery versus wild fish, both experts and audience members made their arguments heard.

ODFW says nothing is set in stone, and the next draft of the proposal is coming out next week.

For anyone wanting to get involved with the process, they are asked to visit the ODFW website, attend public meetings, write letters or speak with local officials.