Group president upset about donated fish

Group president upset about donated fish

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- A local fishermen's group is upset with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife for donating hatchery fish the group raised to a food bank.

Hundreds of fish are being cared for by volunteers from the Umpqua Fishermen's Association, and that's an effort that some feel is being ignored.

Every year, the association raises young steelhead fish for the ODFW hatchery program.

Last week, ODFW officials took some fish and donated them to a food bank.

Umpqua Fisherman's Association President Michael Brochu says that's not the point of the program. "A more appropriate use of the fish would be to haul them back down the river to give anglers another shot at them," Brochu said. "After all, that was the reason they were raised in the first place."

Brochu says they have nothing against donating to a food bank, but UFA members have put time, money and energy into making sure the fish are there for anglers, not food banks.

Brochu says he just feels that the people who care for these fish should be consulted about their future.

Tim Walters of the ODFW says there was a miscommunication, but he says donating some of the fish to help people who need it is important too.

He hopes the donation of fish meat can continue. "These fish have provided angling opportunity, and then providing sustenance for people is also a good thing," he said.

Walters says he is in talks with all parties involved. He adds that nothing has been figured out yet, but he hopes to come to a resolution soon.