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