Tribes Open First Commercial Fishery of Year;
Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs and Yakama tribal fishers began making their way to the Columbia River after the tribes announced that the first commercial gillnet fishery of 2020 would open on Monday, June 22. They will harvest sockeye and summer Chinook that will be available for purchase by the general public.
Fisheries managers estimate 246,300 sockeye and 38,000 summer Chinook will return to the Columbia River over the next few weeks. The peak of these runs will occur by the end of June and the abundance may drop quickly, those who want to enjoy a fresh Columbia River Indian-caught salmon this summer are encouraged to take this opportunity, safely.
"The tribal fishery on the Columbia River is a long-honored custom that can be traced back to ancient times when the rivers ran wild," said Jaime A. Pinkham, Executive Director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. "Whether people come to the river to enjoy its fresh bounties or engage tribal fishers directly, the commercial fishery allows the public to enjoy a taste of history."
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a number of guidelines and recommendations have been made for both tribal fishers and those interested in buying salmon directly.
Those planning to visit the river to buy a salmon are encouraged to wear a face mask and should expect to see fishers make social distancing accommodations.
Many fishers now accept credit cards or mobile payment to avoid handling cash.
The tribes are being cautious and they encourage fish buyers to help in this effort to protect not only themselves, but the tribal community as well.
Both treaty and non-treaty fishery catches will be adjusted throughout the season as the run sizes are updated. Besides Chinook and sockeye, limited numbers of steelhead are available during the summer period.
The tribal fishery is protected under treaties the Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes signed with the federal government in 1855. These treaties reserved their right to fish for ceremonial, subsistence, and commercial uses at all usual and accustomed fishing places in the Columbia Basin.
Direct-to-public sales locations can be found at:
When purchasing fish from tribal fishers:
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