AP: Tribes say tribal fishing rights at riskJul 1st, 2012 • Category: NWIFC Blog
New from Phong Le of the Associated Press this morning (via the Seattle Times), an update on the Treaty Rights at Risk initiative (Update 9:35 a.m., the Seattle PI has the entire version of the AP Story):
Now, those tribes say their treaty rights with the U.S. are at risk because the region is losing habitat that salmon need to survive. They say their treaty rights won’t mean much if there’s no salmon to harvest. They warn of potential court action if more isn’t done.
Frustrated by the lack progress in recovering salmon in Puget Sound and along the coast, the western Washington tribes last summer took their concerns to the White House. In a report, they charged that the federal government has not lived up to its obligations under treaties signed in 1854 and 1855. The agreements preserved the tribes’ right to harvest fish and shellfish in traditional grounds outside their reservation, a right reaffirmed in the 1974 Boldt decision and others.
“We need a change,” said Billy Frank Jr., chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and a member of the Nisqually Tribe, who was involved with fish-in protests in the early 1970s. “We’re on a course that’s going down. If we don’t turn it around, there’s not going to be anything left. … We have to turn it around.”
You can find out more about Treaty Rights at Risk here.