June 26, 2012
|The new fish cleaning station at Astoria’s East Mooring Basin is designed to give anglers a clean, well-lit and sanitary place to take care of their catch. Fish waste is delivered from the building to a barge which is driven out to the main Columbia River channel and emptied, providing nutrients to aquatic life.Click for larger image
ASTORIA, Ore. – Salmon and sturgeon anglers accessing lower Columbia River fisheries from the East Mooring Basin now have a unique custom-built facility where they can clean their catch. The new facility is designed with multiple goals of improving the overall fishing experience, reducing indiscriminate dumping of fish waste inside the boat basin and enhancing the aquatic food web in the lower Columbia estuary.
The Port of Astoria, in cooperation with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently completed construction of the $130,000 facility with funding and technical assistance from a cadre of partners. The majority of the materials, supplies, and construction services used in the project were obtained from within the local community.
The 20x16 ft. building is located at the end of 36th street between the causeway and boat ramp at Astoria’s East Mooring Basin. The covered, ADA-accessible structure has room for several anglers and features a large aluminum fish cleaning table. The facility is equipped with Teflon cutting boards, overhead lights, spray nozzles, waste receptacles, and a drop chute for delivering fish waste into a floating barge stationed below the building. The barge moored outside has a 2,500-gallon hold that when filled is taken out to the main river channel and emptied in compliance with a permit issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The nutrients this material provides is essential food for fish, crabs, invertebrates, sea lions, birds and other aquatic life.
“Our goal is to enhance the fishing experience for the public who are accessing fisheries from the East Mooring Basin,” said Troy Laws, ODFW biologist and project coordinator. The facility gives anglers a viable alternative to cleaning and indiscriminately dumping fish waste inside the boat basin where it creates a mess. In years past, many anglers cleaned fish right next to the ramp. “It was getting pretty messy around there at times,” Laws explained.
One of the facility design challenges was creating an operation that would function during both low and high tides, which in Astoria can change water levels by more than eight feet. Project engineers dealt with this issue by using a suspended, 18-inch wide pipe over part of the span between the building and the barge, which itself raises and lowers with the tides. One of the benefits of using a barge as a receptacle is that by design it will keep sea lions off the vessel until it can be driven out to the main river channel and emptied.
“People up and down the coast including other ports are looking at what we’re doing here because there is interest in developing other cleaning stations like this,” said Laws. “Fish waste disposal is a central problem for most entities engaged in this activity at their facilities. Proper discarding of fish waste in a manner that is beneficial to the environment is a win-win scenario for this type of an operation.”
The Port of Astoria are the managers of this facility, which will be open during daylight hours from spring through fall. It will be closed during the winter. At 10 a.m. on Friday, June 29, the Port and ODFW will host a ceremony to commence public use of the cleaning station.