Tribes close fishery early to ensure future runs

STEILACOOM (October 3, 2008) – Tribal fishing in Chambers Bay will close about two weeks early to make sure that enough adult chinook make it back to a hatchery to produce the next generation of fish.

Three tribes – Squaxin Island, Nisqually and Puyallup – have treaty-reserved rights to fish in Chambers Bay. The tribal fishery at Chambers Bay focuses on a strong run of hatchery chinook.

“Future fisheries depend on their being enough fish in the hatcheries each year,” said Chris Phinney, fisheries management biologist for the Puyallup Tribe.

The tribes are closing their fishery because of a lower than expected return of chinook to a Tumwater hatchery, which is effecting the regional supply of chinook eggs. “If they aren’t getting enough fish back at one hatchery, it causes problems at other hatcheries,” Phinney said.

“Because of widespread habitat loss and degradation throughout the region, tribal and non-tribal fishermen almost always have to depend on hatchery salmon,” said Joe Peters, harvest management biologist for the Squaxin Island Tribe. “It’s in the best interest of all fishermen that the combined tribal and state hatchery system is healthy.”


For more information, contact: Chris Phinney, fisheries management biologist, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, (253) 845-9225.