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Agreement Guiding Columbia Basin Fisheries Harvests, Hatchery Production For Next 10 Years Approved
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2018 (PST)

A harvest agreement that sets fisheries harvests in the Columbia River basin for the next decade was approved this week by tribes, states and federal agencies.

 

Although the previous United States v Oregon management agreement (2008-2017) expired Dec. 31, 2017, it was extended through Feb. 28, 2018 while NOAA Fisheries completed its National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act processes for the successor agreement.

 

That work is done and NOAA filed the documents in U.S. District Court of Oregon, Monday, Feb. 26.

 

US v Oregon is the on-going federal court proceeding that enforces and implements the treaty-reserved fishing rights of the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Yakama, and Shoshone-Bannock tribes.

 

While not significantly different from the previous agreement, the new EIS prepared by NOAA Fisheries also includes a list of hatchery programs with stipulated production levels, and a list of tribal and non-tribal salmon and steelhead fisheries in the basin, including designated off-channel sites for commercial uses, which are intended to both ensure fair sharing of harvestable fish between tribal and non-tribal fisheries in accordance with treaty fishing rights standards and U.S. v. Oregon, and be responsive to the needs of species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

 

Thirteen species of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia/Snake river basin are listed under the Endangered Species Act.

 

The 2018-2027 U.S. v Oregon Management Agreement extends provisions of the 2008-2017 Management Agreement, and in doing so, “it assures equitable catch, provides for conservation for the next ten years, and provides a framework for developing annual plans to determine specific fishing opportunities,” NOAA says.

 

Parties to the agreement are the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Yakama, and Shoshone-Bannock tribes; the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon; and NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs. All are signatories of the Management Agreement.

 

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes signed on only to Part I of the agreement, which deals with scope, framework and performance measures, among other items. It didn’t sign on to Part II, harvest, or Part III, production. Although the Tribes have filed a complaint in intervention in US v Oregon, the agreement says, they haven’t taken any action on the complaint. The same language was in the previous agreement.

 

NOAA said the purpose of the Management Agreement is to implement harvest policies agreed to by the parties that govern the amount of harvest, and it incorporates hatchery programs and associated production levels in the basin that support harvest and are also important to the conservation of salmon and steelhead populations upstream of Bonneville Dam.

 

Those harvest policies provide a framework for setting salmon fishing levels that balance harvest and conservation measures, NOAA said.

 

Further defining harvest and conservation, it said “Harvest provides the benefits of catch including those related to treaty rights; conservation seeks to keep stocks healthy and rebuild weak stocks so that all are sustained and can provide for the ongoing benefits of harvest. The harvest policies in the 2018-2027 Management Agreement include abundance-based management, fixed harvest rate, and fixed escapement goal policies.”

 

See a Frequently Asked Questions sheet at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/fishery_management/salmon_steelhead/2.27.2018_us.v.or_faq.pdf.

 

The BiOp and Management Agreement are at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/fishery_management/salmon_steelhead/s7-_usvoregon_2018-2027_mgmagmnt__final_signed.pdf. The Management Agreement is at page 468.

 

Also see:

 

--CBB, January 5, 2018, “10-Year Columbia River Harvest Agreement Extended Two Months As Work Continues On New Pact,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440012.aspx.

 

--CBB, December 1, 2017, “Columbia River Harvest: US V. Oregon EIS Completed, Preferred Alternative Extends Current Agreement,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439897.aspx

 

-- CBB, June 23, 2017, “Feds Release Draft EIS For Guiding Columbia River Basin Harvest Actions 2018-2027,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439151.aspx

 

--CBB, May 12, 2017, “New Federal Requirements Changes Columbia River Steelhead Production In Washington Hatcheries,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438898.aspx

 

-- CBB, Jan. 19, 2017, “NOAA Completes BiOp For Mitchell Act Hatcheries, Proposes Reduction In Fall Chinook Releases” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438210.aspx

 

-- CBB, December 16, 2016, “NOAA Releases Proposed Changes To Columbia Basin Mitchell Act Hatchery Programs,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438098.aspx

 

-- CBB, July 15, 2016, “Federal Agencies To Prepare EIS To Help Guide Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Harvest Post-2017,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/437138.aspx

 

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