Unease Over Astoria Man’s Appointment To ODFW Commission

Governor Kate Brown’s appointment yesterday of an Astoria man to the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission is raising ire in the sportfishing industry.

In reappointing two current members and adding another, Brown said she also wanted to add Bruce Buckmaster to the citizen panel to fill a seat that’s been vacant for over two years.

Buckmaster sits on the board of Salmon For All, a commercial fishing-oriented group, as well as has served on groups looking at native fish, hatchery and sea lion issues.

He told The Daily Astorian that he thinks he “can represent this district well for the community of sport and commercial fishing,” and pics on his Facebook page show him on northern rivers, fly rod in hand.

However, recreational angling leaders are leery, and ahead of a Senate hearing in Salem on May 14, they are urging fishermen and businesses to contact their state lawmakers about Buckmaster’s appointment, which is slated to begin June 1.

They say he has been anything but a bridge builder towards the guiding and sport communities, has lobbied for gillnetters, and that he has vowed to continue to oppose the salmon fishery reforms implemented on the Columbia in December 2012.

Moreover, they wonder why there isn’t a specific voice on the commission representing the 10,000-plus folks who work in the state’s angling industry.

In a statement posted to its website earlier this month, the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association said it “did not and does not object to commercial fishing know how on the commission [in the form of current commissioner Laura Anderson of Newport]. What our members do object to is complete lack of expertise in the economics of our industry on the commission!” 

NSIA says it and other groups will be in Salem next Wednesday at a meet-and-greet put on by the governor’s office with the nominees to express their “extreme disappointment” with Brown’s decision.

Gov. Brown’s reappointments included current commission chair, Michael Finley of Medford, and Enterprise’s Holly Akenson.

She also appointed Jason Atkinson of Jacksonville, who will take over the seat occupied by former chair Bobby Levy. He was reported to be a fly fisherman.

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