When settlers first came to the Oregon Coast, they were amazed at the abundance of salmon in the area. Commercial salmon fishing started in the 1860s and provided an influx of jobs in cities like Astoria, Tillamook and Gold Beach. By the 21sst century, it became an important part of every coastal town’s economy. Settlers and immigrants came to the area for the opportunities in both the fishing and canning industries. As the number of commercial fisherman increased, so did the competition between them. Innovations and technological advancements created higher yields with less work. Things like fishwheels and gillnets lead to unrestrained and unsustainable harvesting, rapidly decreasing salmon populations in the area.
Photo obtained from Oregon State University, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Today, fisheries are managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. They set limits, regulations and run studies to sample fish and shellfish, as well as provide fisherman with as much information as they can. It is important for fisherman to follow limits and quotas set by these agencies because they are implemented to ensure fishing is sustainable and that there will be plenty of fish for everyone and the future of fishing. With proper fisheries management, the Oregon Coast will remain a premier fishing destination for generations to come.