State and tribes agree on fishing season; plan still awaits federal approval

  • By Chris Winters Herald Writer
  • Thursday, May 26, 2016 6:01pm
  • Local News

EVERETT — After a nearly monthlong stalemate, the Department of Fish &Wildlife and Native American tribes have come to an agreement on a recreational fishing season for Puget Sound.

The agreement reached Thursday afternoon follows extended negotiations between state and tribal fisheries managers after they failed to reach an agreement earlier this spring.

The state and tribes must now obtain a joint federal permit in order to open the fishing season in Puget Sound waters.

“We plan to re-open those waters as soon as we have federal approval,” said John Long, salmon fisheries policy lead for Fish &Wildlife. “We anticipate getting the new permit within a few weeks.”

Approval of the permit is expected by mid-June. In the meantime, a closure of recreational fishing that was enacted May 1 remains in effect.

The season includes a hatchery chinook season on the Snohomish River from June 1-July 30. A sockeye season on Baker Lake also is planned starting in mid-July, with a maximum take of 4,600 fish for the season.

Many rivers, including the Snohomish, the main stem of the Stillaguamish, the Skagit and the Cascade, will be closed in September and October to protect returning coho.

Details of the proposed new recreational season are posted online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon.

The tribal and state managers now will focus on addressing long-term resource management concerns, such as restoring habitat and boosting salmon stocks.

What that will entail remains to be worked out, said Lorraine Loomis, the chairwoman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“We will work up a plan and see where we can work together to complete the work. It could be restoration, it could be laws,” Loomis said. “What we found out, right now we’re fighting over the last fish, and that doesn’t work.”

Further negotiations need to address long-term changes to the climate as well as restoring habitat, she added.

The process of co-management needs to be reworked, she said.

“Obviously our process is broken and I think we have to figure out why our process is broken and fix it,” Loomis said.

The negotiations have played out against a background of expected low runs of salmon, especially coho, and a resurgence of ill feeling between some recreational and tribal fishing interests.

In April, the Pacific Fishery Management Council released its rules for the marine fishing seasons.

But without an agreement at the state level for the inland waters, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, the 20 treaty tribes in Washington pre-emptively closed their own inland coho fisheries.

Then on May 1, the state closed most inland river fishing areas to sports fishermen.

The tribes submitted a separate permit to NOAA Fisheries.

But while that remained unsettled, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs on May 3 determined that a six-day tribal harvest of a maximum of 1,250 spring-run chinook salmon wouldn’t violate the Endangered Species Act.

Tribal fishermen took to local rivers to catch the first salmon of the season while non-tribal anglers staged protests in LaConner and Lacey.

The permit process won’t be able to move forward until the agency receives the joint application, NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein said.

“We’ve been processing the tribal only proposal, because we’ve been working on that we have a pretty good head start on all the analysis we’ll do on this,” Milstein said.

“That gives us hope that we can get it done quickly,” he said.

The ongoing closures include salmon and steelhead fishing in Puget Sound marine areas, and all fishing in several lakes and many rivers that flow into Puget Sound.

A complete list of ongoing closures is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/pugetsound_salmon_update.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Freeland massage therapist charged with sex crimes

The judge set bail at $7,500 for the health care provider, who was accused of sexually assaulting two clients last year.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

State Trooper Isaiah Oliver speaks to a BNSF worker at mile marker 31.7 as road closures and evacuations mount in response to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
As wildfires creep west of Cascades, county plans for next Bolt Creek

Wildfires are an increasing concern in Snohomish County. A new project aims to develop a better plan.

Everett High seniors, from left, Avery Thompson, Lanie Thompson, Melissa Rosales-Alfaro and Saron Mulugeta sit together in front of their school on Monday, May 20, 2024, in Everett, Washington. The group have called to question their district’s policy that does not permit graduates to decorate their mortarboards or graduation clothing. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
After student campaign, Everett schools allows custom graduation caps

“It’s a really good first step,” the Everett High School ASB president said. But the students still want relaxed rules for future classes.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

People fill the board room for public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Struggling Marysville schools dropped from insurance pool

In an unprecedented move, the board of the Washington Schools Risk Management Pool voted to drop the district by August.

A cyclist heads along Federal Avenue past a bike route sign near 46th Street SE on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Bike sign project marks lanes, distances for Everett cyclists

Around the city, crews are putting up over 200 signs, geared toward helping bicyclists find their way around.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.