Portland, Oregon – Indian Country was front and center at the national conference of the American Fisheries Society. Staff from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) and its member tribes were featured throughout this week’s prestigious event that was held in Portland, Oregon.
Over the course of the four-day event, CRITFC and tribal staff gave over 27 presentations, displayed 7 research posters, screened 2 documentaries, and were an integral part of the conference’s development and operations. Yakama Nation tribal leader Gerald Lewis provided the conference’s invocation. CRITFC Executive Director Paul Lumley gave the plenary session welcome address to the more than 3,500 fishery professionals from all over the world. Staff presentations highlighted the diversity of their work in genetics, harvest management, cutting-edge fisheries research, sturgeon and lamprey biology, climate change, and many others.
CRITFC, along with several other Columbia River basin tribes and First Nations, received the American Fisheries Society’s 2015 William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award. This award acknowledges singular accomplishments or long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at a national or international level. The AFS Past Presidents Advisory Council recognized tribal leadership and their work in creating a common vision for restoring ecosystem function and resiliency to the Columbia River Watershed.
During his plenary speech, CRITFC Executive Director Paul Lumley called upon scientist to address climate change, stating, “when the tribes signed the treaties of 1855 we didn’t anticipate climate change. But climate change is here. The warming waters and dying fish are an urgent matter and we need your help.”
The American Fisheries Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science, and conserving fisheries resources. This week’s conference was the 145th national conference for the organization.