Deal Focuses on Renewing Salmon Runsby Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, March 4, 2001
The Columbia River Treaty Tribes and Washington and Oregon constituents have reached an agreement that will be the cornerstone for a new fisheries-management plan expected to be completed by December 2003.
The major objective is to rebuild fish runs on the Columbia and Snake to 5 million fish within 25 years.
"This agreement has both logic and vision but, importantly, it provides the resource and fishers some level of certainty, something they haven't had much of in recent years," said Randy Settler, the Yakama Nation Fish and Wildlife committee chairman.
The multiyear plan will focus on building Snake River spring and summer chinook, Upper Columbia spring chinook and Snake River sockeye runs. Under the plan, fish-catch rates will be adjusted based on the number of wild fish projected to return in any year.
Fisheries managers say the plan will provide stability in catch and hatchery production and let managers focus more on addressing the difficult hydro power and habitat issues, which will likely be challenging, especially this year because of the extreme drought conditions.
The deal establishes levels of incidental impacts on wild stocks, while still allowing fishing for steelhead, sturgeon and shad in certain areas.
Starting March 12, the agreement will allow sport anglers in the Lower Columbia to selectively target what's predicted to be an unprecedented return of 364,000 spring chinook, most of which are of hatchery origin.
The sport fishery will be open seven days a week through April 30, or until the 0.8 percent impact levels of listed wild upriver spring chinook are taken.
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