Hoopa Tribe Files Suit Against Federal Agencies that Failed to Reduce Coho Salmon Killing Near Mouth of Klamath River

This is a press release from the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe:

The Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe today filed suit against federal agencies who failed to reduce the numbers of Coho salmon being killed in the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Klamath River. Without analysis, regulations of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) changed this year to allow more Coho to be injured or killed, although they are protected by the Endangered Species Act. “We will not stand by while the federal agencies kill our fish,” said Hoopa Chairman Ryan Jackson. “Those fish would have returned to the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. The Bureau of Reclamation cannot kill young Coho salmon in the river nor can the PFMC kill and maim the returning adult Coho in salt water,” he said.

In April 2018, the Hoopa Tribe warned U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that the PFMC was proposing to up its allowances for killing and maiming Coho salmon during ocean fishing targeted on Chinook salmon. Both species of salmon are present in the ocean’s Klamath Management Zone during the summer and the killing of Coho there is called an “incidental take.” However, Ross simply approved the PFMC’s proposal without bothering to request analysis of the impact on Coho, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. That analysis is required because the new regulations were not considered in the applicable 1999 biological opinion issued to the PFMC. In July 2018, the Tribe notified federal agencies of its intent to sue, but the federal agencies declined to withdraw the regulations.

Adverse impacts to the ESA-listed Coho that result from excessive incidental take of ESA-listed Coho in ocean fishing directly impairs and injures the Tribe and its sovereign, legal, economic, and cultural interests. Today’s lawsuit demands that the federal agencies re- initiate consultation under the ESA regarding the adverse effects of ocean fishing on protected Coho and take action to protect Coho during the consultation process.

For further information, please contact Mike Orcutt, Hoopa Fisheries Director, or George Kautsky, Deputy Director at (530) 625-4267.

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6 comments

  • I saw lots of people at the mouth who couldnt or wouldn’t speak English kill and keep coho. Little to no enforcement from the tribe or Fish and Wildlife there either.

    • You DO understand that the people at the mouth of the Klamath are not Hupa, right? They are Yurok, indigenous people speaking a language that you don’t understand, that…oh why am I even trying to shed a little light into so much darkness?
      Hupa has the beef with the Secretary of Commerce.
      The important thing here is: we all suffer from lack of knowledge and striving to know more by scientific study, even if it’s spurred on by the cudgel of a lawsuit to compel the secretary of commerce to do his job, (please don’t miss the irony that fish fall under the watchful eye of Commerce. Why do you think the Yurok at the mouth, the Hupa upriver and the PFMC are all in some degree in on this beef? It’s not for the fish, as fish, it’s fish, as $$$), is knowledge, even if it’s charting the demise.
      The Hupa cry crocodile tears, PFMC fishers call incidental take dinner, and the Yurok at the mouth will talk if you show some genuine interest in the form of USD.

      • Obviously I can’t speak for Redwood Dan but I don’t think he meant Yuroks speaking Yurok considering the Yurok language almost vanished from existence with only a handful of Yuroks who know and speak it today. Maybe I’m wrong and that handful were all fishing at the same time and place where Dan just happened to overhear them.

  • talk about decimation of fish population, go down to the Klamath mouth and watch the natives gill net across the entire mouth of the river, racking in the fish, but hey it’s the governments fault, double standard, or a set up so the tribes can sue….

  • A gill net doesn’t know the difference between a Chinook and a Coho either.

  • there is a metal weir in the hoopa valley right now. the natives claim it is for scientific purposes. but the fact is, that they are selling fish and shipping them out with a refrigerated truck. very few making it up river and nobody is doing anything about it. they are fishing the south fork trinity to extinction. they are hypocrites. this is plain and simple greed. my thought, they should sue themselves.

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