Lorraine Loomis: Tribes in Washington face dwindling salmon runs

Fishermen from the Hoh Tribe in Washington. Photo from Northwest Treaty Tribes / Facebook

Lorraine Loomis, the chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, calls for better fisheries management in order to protect tribal treaty rights in Washington:
There likely will be no coho fisheries in western Washington this year as returns are expected to plummet even further than last year because of poor ocean survival.

Coho returns in 2015 were as much as 80 percent below pre-season forecasts. The Nisqually Tribe canceled its coho fishery when fewer than 4,000 of the 23,000 fish expected actually returned. The same story was repeated in many tribal fishing areas.

That’s why western Washington treaty Indian tribes are calling for greater caution in fisheries management planning this year and more equitable sharing with the state of the responsibility for conservation. It is important that we have agreement on in-season management methods and actions before the season starts.

Unlike sport fishermen who can go where fishing is best, tribal fishermen are bound by treaty to traditional fishing places located mostly in terminal areas – such as rivers and bays – that are the end of the line for returning salmon.

Get the Story:
Lorraine Loomis: With declining coho runs, tribes call for cautious management (The Renton Reporter 3/12)

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