When they meet in Olympia Jan. 9 and 10, Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners should follow Oregon's lead in deciding on a fair share of Columbia River spring and summer Chinook salmon for commercial and sport fishermen.

A subcommittee of the two state fish commissions decided earlier this fall to institutionalize a radical new distribution of these prized fish. In effect, their plan would shift much of the catch to metropolitan sportsmen and guides, dooming what little is left of commercial fishing on the Lower Columbia.

The full Oregon commssion wisely rejected move.

It's important to acknowledge some facts. Sport and charter fishing are both economically and culturally important on the whole length of the river. But for many consumers, commercial fishing provides their one chance to taste this king of fish. For decades, most state officials have recognized that a healthy diversity of salmon fishing is vital to bolstering political support for recovery efforts while giving a boost to economically challenged lower-river communities.

It will be a travesty and a shortsighted injustice if Washington in effect reallocates Chinook to the big city.

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