Portland, Oregon – The Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Yakama tribes began commercial sales from their summer fishery today. This is the first significant commercial fishery of 2013. Pre-season forecasts estimate 73,500 summer chinook and 180,500 sockeye. Depending on the actual run sizes, Indian fishers may harvest approximately 20,000 summer chinook and 12,000 sockeye, most of which will be sold commercially.
Both treaty and non-treaty fishery catches will be adjusted throughout the season as the run size is updated. The tribal fishery is protected under 1855 treaties with the federal government, where the Yakama Nation, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes reserved the right to fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places in the Columbia River Basin—a treaty right that reserves ceremonial, subsistence, and commercial uses. Tribal and non-tribal harvest rates have been agreed to as part of the U.S. v. Oregon Management Agreement.
The upper Columbia River’s summer chinook populations—populations destined for the Wenatchee, Methow and Okanagan river systems—are considered healthy and are not listed under the Endangered Species Act. Although Snake River sockeye are listed under the endangered Species Act, the majority of sockeye are returning to the Okanagan River in Canada and is not listed under the ESA. The increased sockeye returns to the Okanagan River are the direct result of sockeye enhancement programs currently underway by the Okanagan Nation Alliance, a group of First Nations tribes in British Columbia
The tribal fishery offers an ample supply of fish direct-to-public sales. Common sales locations include: Marine Park in Cascade Locks, Lone Pine in The Dalles, North Bonneville (one mile east of Bonneville Dam), and Columbia Point in the Tri-Cities area.
So pack a cooler with ice and keep the following tips in mind:
- Sales from Indian fishers generally run from 10 am to dusk.
- Price is determined at the point of sale.
- Most sales are cash only.
- Buyers should request a receipt.
- Indian fishers can advise on topics including fish freshness and preparation.
The public is urged to call the salmon marketing program at (888) 289-1855 before heading up the river to find out where the day’s catch is being sold. More information is available on the salmon marketing website www.critfc.org/harvest. Regular salmon sales updates are also found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ColumbiaSalmon.
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About CRITFC: The Portland-based Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is the technical support and coordinating agency for fishery management policies of the Columbia River Basin’s four treaty tribes: the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Nez Perce Tribe.