Billy Frank: Management key to salmon recovery
"We’re starting to see some light on the horizon when it comes to restoring salmon, and we have good management to thank for it.

For the first time in nearly 25 years the Stillaguamish Tribe was able to harvest a chinook from the Stillaguamish River for a First Salmon Ceremony.

Sport fishermen on the Skagit River are getting a crack at summer and fall chinook for the first time since 1993.

For the past two years, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians has opened special “elders only” fisheries for spring chinook, the first harvest of these fish by the tribe since the 1980s.

These fisheries are small – the Stillaguamish Tribe is expected to take fewer than 20 of the 1,000 chinook returning to the river’s north fork – but they are no less important. Each fishery is a testament to strong, sound co-management by the treaty Indian tribes and state of Washington.

We’ve been ramping up hatchery programs to make sure wild stocks on the edge of extinction don’t disappear. The Muckleshoot Tribe’s White River Hatchery provides a great example. The hatchery opened in the late 1980s in response to spring chinook returns as low as 30 fish. With help from the state and the Puyallup Tribe, the program has resulted in as many as 6,000 fish returning each year.

But despite the ground we’ve gained we are losing habitat faster than we can restore it."

Get the Story:
Billy Frank Jr.: Habitat key to salmon recovery (Indian Country Today 8/10)