For Memorial Day weekend, leaders from the Umatilla, Yakama, Warm Springs and Nez Perce tribes opened a two-night commercial gillnet fishery that will bring ample amounts of fresh spring chinook to the salmon-loving public. The latest fishery comes on the heels of an above average spring chinook run which should reach 224,000 returning adults. This spring’s commercial fishery will be the largest in the last four years.
“The tribes are just one the many communities benefiting from this year’s spring chinook run,” said Paul Lumley, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s executive director. “For the first time in four years, we are thrilled to share the coveted spring chinook salmon with our loyal customers that appreciate fresh and locally-caught fish.”
Indian fishers may be found selling fish at a number of locations along the river including Marine Park at Cascade Locks, Lone Pine at The Dalles, and the boat launch near Roosevelt, Washington as well as other locations. Commercial sales will not occur on Corps of Engineers property at Bonneville Dam. Information on where the day’s catch is being sold is available by calling Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s salmon marketing program at (888) 289-1855 or visiting the salmon marketing website http://www.critfc.org/harvest. Price is determined at the point of sale and sales are cash only.
The tribal fishery is protected by treaties made with the federal government in 1855, where the right to fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places in the Columbia River basin was reserved. The tribal treaty right extends beyond ceremonial and subsistence fisheries to commercial sales. The Columbia River fisheries are adjusted throughout the season in accordance with management agreements and observed returns.