For more information on
Commercial Selective
Fishing, please contact


Current Selective Fishing Research Projects

Current Selective Fishing Research Projects
Current research projects in red. Past projects in black.

Lower Columbia River

Request for Qualifications and Quotation (RFQQ) #11-0005

Alternative Commercial Salmon Fishing Gears & Methods:
Lower Columbia River & Estuary - Purse Sein, Beach Seine and Additional Methods
Map of Fishing Areas | Weekly Catch Data
Purse Seining on the Lower Columbia River
Click on photos to enlarge - Photo by Wild Fish Conservancy

Small purse seine on the Lower Columbia River.  The net is deployed out in a large circle and ready to be drawn “pursed” in.

The net is pulled in tighter, bringing any salmon in the net closer to the boat.

Fish are able to swim freely while crew members sort through them.

Salmon can be sorted via dip net enabling us to release wild fish unharmed.

WDFW hatcheries on the Lower Columbia River produce Chinook and coho that are the mainstay for coastal and lower river recreational and commercial fisheries.  However, mixed in with these hatchery fish are many stocks that are listed under the Endangered Species Act and need protection from harvest. The economy of many communities benefit greatly from the sport and commercial fisheries. Therefore, to maintain fisheries in this area, it is highly desirable to develop a means to harvest hatchery fish with minimal impact to the wild stock.

In 2009, WDFW initiated a commercial selective gear implementation project in the lower Columbia River testing a purse seine, beach seine and trap net.

This program has been expanded in 2010 to include five purse seines, six beach seines and two trap nets. 

For more information see:

Upper Columbia River

During 2006 and 2007 the Colville Confederated Tribes and WDFW began to explore using selective fishing gears as a means to collect broodstock for the planned Chief Joseph Hatchery and to improve harvest opportunity in the Okanogan Basin.

The Colville Tribe has significantly expanded this effort to include beach seines, tangle nets, trap nets and purse seines.

For more information see:

The Friendliest Catch
Colville Confederated Tribes' Selective Salmon Harvest

Revival Box

This Recovery Box is in use in current mark selective commercial fisheries for Spring Chinook in the lower Columbia River.

Selective fishing research in British Columbia revealed that handling and release of the live captured salmon were the most important factors that contributed to their post-release survival. The use of a recovery box provides fresh flowing oxygen to the salmon, helping them revive quickly.

In each of the selective fishing research projects, we use the recovery box for all salmon that appear lethargic or are bleeding. Fish are retained in this box until they become vigorous and actively seek to swim forward.

Approximately 36" long and 16" high, this wooden box is just wide enough for the salmon with its head facing the fresh water flow, but narrow enough to prevent it from turning around.

In a commercial selective fishery, each fishing boat will be equipped with a suitable recovery box. When a non-target fish is brought on board and requires some time to recover before release, it will be placed in the box until it is swimming vigorously. The recovery box provides the fish a protected place with extra water flow to recover from the stress of capture, and increases its chance of surviving after release.

Setup of holding tank and recovery box onboard a gillnetter's boat
Setup of holding tank and recovery box onboard a gillnetter's boat. Fish too lethargic to be released back into the river are placed into a recovery box for rejuvenation.

Salmon recuperating in a recovery box
Salmon recuperating in a recovery box. To maximize oxygen flow to the fish's gills, its mouth is placed directly in front of the freshwater supply being pumped onboard.

Fish recovery box
Fish recovery box. Photo courtesy of: OR Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Columbia R. Mgmt. Office
Fish recovery box in action
Recovery box in action: a Chinook is revitalized using water pumped from the river