[env-trinity] Times Standard: Yurok Tribe alleges illegal fishing by neighboring Resighini Rancheria
tstokely at att.net
Mon May 9 08:41:14 PDT 2016
Yurok Tribe alleges illegal fishing by neighboring Resighini Rancheria
Klamath River salmon catch limited this season
By Will Houston, Eureka Times-StandardFriday, May 6, 2016The Yurok Tribe filed a federal lawsuit against neighboring Resighini Rancheria on Friday, claiming tribal members fished the mouth of the Klamath River without permission of the tribe or state.“This action is a last resort,” Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. said in a statement on Friday. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to stand up for the fish because they do not have a voice.”Resighini Rancheria Tribal Manager Donald Valenzuela said he did not want to comment on the lawsuit at this time and said the tribal council will be discussing the litigation at its meeting Monday.The Yurok Tribe is seeking a declaratory judgment to stop the Resighini Rancheria from fishing on the Klamath River within the Yurok Tribe’s reservation, which runs from the mouth of the Klamath River to the confluence of the Trinity River about 45 miles away. The 228-acre Resighini Rancheria is located within the Yurok Tribe’s reservation, but the it is not included in the tribal fishing rights that were given to the Yurok and Hoopa tribes by Congress in 1988 through the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act.According to the Yurok Tribe, members of the Resighini Rancheria had an opportunity to join the Yurok Tribe to gain access to fishing rights on the river, but chose to take a $15,000 per person buyout instead.The lawsuit alleges that Resighini Rancheria members including Secretary Gary Dowd harvested fish without the authorization of the tribe and without a state license.In Friday’s release, the tribe said it filed the lawsuit to protect the salmon populations, which are predicted to have lower than average numbers this season. About 142,200 fall run Chinook salmon from the Klamath River are estimated to be in the Pacific Ocean this year, which is nearly a third of last year’s estimate and the second lowest predicted population since at least 1996, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife data.As a result, the Yurok Tribal Council adopted a four-day per week closure of the salmon fishery.“This year, the predicted salmon run on the Klamath River is so low that the Tribe’s fishery allotment is less than one fish per Tribal member,” the release states.With more than 6,000 members, the Yurok Tribe is the largest tribe in California.Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.
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