The 2010 assessment declared that while protecting existing habitat is the most important action needed in the short term, salmon habitat continues to be degraded and better habitat protection efforts are needed. The assessment acknowledges that responsible harvest management is doing its share to support salmon recovery, and that salmon populations in many watersheds would not improve even if harvest was completely eliminated. Yet while harvest is held accountable for salmon recovery, habitat loss and degradation continue every day throughout every watershed in western Washington, destroying the salmon resource and along with it, the cultures, communities and treaty-reserved fishing rights of the tribes in western Washington.
“That salmon is us. All of us,” Frank said. “Whatever happens to that salmon is going to happen to us. If we can’t protect the salmon and its habitat, we can’t protect ourselves from the same things that are driving the salmon toward extinction.”
The State of our Watersheds report can be viewed online or is available on CD through the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Web site at http://www.nwifc.org/sow. The report is a living document that will be updated as new data become available.
The State of Our Watersheds report is part of the Treaty Rights at Risk initiative created by the treaty tribes in 2011 to address the erosion of tribal treaty-reserved fishing rights from the ongoing loss of salmon and their habitat. The initiative is a call to action for the federal government to fulfill its trust responsibility to the tribes and its duty to recover salmon by leading a more coordinated salmon recovery effort. More information is available at http://www.treatyrightsatrisk.org.
Reference: KBKW News