Record Low Salmon Runs and the Yurok Tribe

This spring the Yurok Tribe announced that because of predicted record low Chinook salmon runs for 2017, the tribe’s allotted entire fish harvest amounted to “about 650 fish or one fish for every 10 Tribal members.Disease and the poor condition of both the Klamath River and the Pacific Ocean had decimated the species, according to the Tribe. 

Tomorrow, on the California Report, a story by reporter Lisa Morehouse of California Foodways, highlights the heartbreaking story of the Tribe’s struggle to cope with the change to one of their most traditional foods.

Morehouse, who has received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism Award for Best Feature and Longform Storytelling, allows the listener to hear the purr of the motorboat and feel what the loss of the salmon means to the Yurok community.

The story is available below now.

Note: Reporter Lisa Morehouse is a friend and colleague of Kym Kemp.

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34 comments

  • Sad. The People always get the leftovers of the white mans reap n irresponsible practices.

    • Buzzardsnest really? Then why was it just a few years ago 2012-13 there were many nets all the way across the river above the copper mine, a nd why you might ask was a tribal member busted with 21 thousand pounds of Chinook salmon illegally taken on the Trinity river,these people abuse the laws in place like they don’t apply to them,then cry a fucking river of fucking tears when they are gone, yet they hastened the end of the fish.Despicable !!!!

      • We are all to blam. But….that sounds like some hipicriticism on there part. Maybe I should just eat pork….

      • Let me ask you if we natives didn’t respect the fish and water like you say…do you think the fishery would still exist? Who’s the ones responsible for the fish kills years bk when your people broke the gates stealing water, which made the water too warm and salmon got disease? The only reason your stupid ass laws are there is so idiots like you cry unfair…Where is your roots from? If your not too ashamed of where that is, explain to all of us just how pristine and great your fishery’s are problem free? You ignorant fool the last thing you need too do is point fingers! By the way…does that one white guy who killed and danced around in their skins…I think “Buffalo Bob” does his actions speak for all white people? Ha Ha didn’t think so Steve….Well neither does that one guy you lied about. Quit acting like your MR. Environmentalist, you do just as much damage to this land as every other person, just to stupid to do anything about it!!!

  • Interesting. The reports I got were saying there were lots of fish around

  • Maybe stop using gill nets???

  • The yurok did this to themselves by overfishing a few years ago. They took around 75000 fish in one season. No sympathy.

  • Build a hatchery with some of their handout money,instead of a building a casino to make money, I guess that tells us exactly what the tribe prioritized

  • What handout money? Why don’t you ask Yurok members how often/how much “handout” money they get? The tribes build casinos to generate money to benefit the tribe, like building low income housing, helping to send members to college, among other tribal programs. Where the money goes is voted upon, and 9/10 it does not go directly into member pockets. I do believe building a hatchery is a great idea though. If enough tribal members got behind a project like that, then it could be brought before the council, and then voted on. Though I do think personally, there’s some discrepancies in the voting.

  • yes a hatchery makes sense, but taking of salmon on their way to spawn is really dumb. just because you have done this for thousands of years dont make it right. its time to leave the fish alone, give them a chance, you can always get salmon from Alaska new zealand and other places. you may have a legal right to take these fish but not a moral rite to diminish the fish population, and the only fish that are being targeted are spawning fish. and after they are all gone. WHO WILL YOU BLAME?

    • Is it moral to allow white men to take Klamath fish in the ocean that are heading to spawn? The Yurok Tribe has been fishing for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the white man showed up that fish populations crashed. The Yurok Tribe has stopped fishing because of low returns, yet fish are still caught in mixed stock fisheries in the ocean. And no, there are not a lot of fish around.

      Anyone that believes Tribes get handouts are full of it and have no idea what they are talking about. There are two hatcheries on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers and fish returns to the hatcheries have been dismal. Without clean, disease-free water and habitat you won’t have fish, hatcheries or not. They also have not “overfished.” The Tribes in the Klamath are allocated 50% of the harvestable surplus, by law. That is, escapement estimates are made and non-tribal sport and commercial fishermen get 50% and the Yurok and Hupa Tribes get 50% of the surplus above the spawning escapement goal for the Trinity and Klamath Rivers. People should really do their homework before they start blaming people. Without the Tribes working to restore habitat and fighting for water rights there would be no Klamath fishery.

      • The Klamath Management Zone has been in existence for many years and fishing in this zone is prohibited. The no-fishing zone was put in the protect the salmon from ocean fishermen and the area covers from the Mattole to North of the Klamath River I believe. The Klamath has no water in it – That is the problem. The fish are not surviving because of high temps, algae blooms and predation. Lobby to stop water extractions before the fish are extinct is my advice.

      • The tribes, the tribes,the tribes,they should have no more rights than anyone else if only they as a collective could hold a fucking job, instead of a meth pipe…

        • Hey Steve what and where exactly did you come from? Meth Pipes? Wow sounds like your ancestors came from KKK land and bloodline came from CusterHitler family? Please do us all a favor and DO NOT have children!!! Reading your none sense…Well it isn’t right to expose children to that trash!

          Meth Pipes Really??? Ha Ha Pathetic…

      • I DONT CARE IF ITS A NATIVE OR A WHITE[edit], IF YOU ARE TAKING SPAWNING FISH ITS A NO BRAINER, EVERY FEMALE FISH THAT YOU KILL AN SLAUGHTER, YOU LOSE THOUSANDS OF FISH THAT CAN SPAWN AN RETURN, IF YOUR HABITAT FOR A FISH RETURN IS DWINDLING AN YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE BENEFITTING FROM THE FISH. SOUND ADVISE WOULD BE CLEAN UP THE MESS, LIKE THEY DID IN THE PETALUMA RIVER, AN THESE WERE JUST HIGH SCHOOL KIDS. THAT CLEANED UP A CREEK FULL OF TRASH OLD CARS JUNK AN GARBAGE, NOW THERE IS A FULL RUN OF FISH. BUT SITTIN ON A STUMP WHINING AINT GONNA GET THE JOB DONE.

  • Sad, may we learn from our mistakes and help this precious resource revive.

  • Hatcheries pollute natural fish bloodlines. They do not address the problems that led to the collapse of natural stock. They only address the need of white men to catch more fish.

  • As a mixed race human I am embarrassed to see how easily other humans place blame based on race/ ethnicity i.e. white, native, etc. Can we have empathy for one another and find commonality rather than marginalize and exploit each other? Stay human.

  • The issue here is quite personal for many of us. After reading this article I think Truthy is right, and trolling should just be for fish. Anyone serious about knowing about tribal rights should dig deeper. Here is a good place to start.

    https://klamathrestoration.gov/sites/klamathrestoration.gov/files/Klamath%20Salmon-Understanding%20Allocation523.pdf

    It seems from the referenced article above the locals were given back their own fishing rights, called reserve rights, in exchange for all their land, with the exception of the reservations, where they were allowed to fish in peace without outside interference.

    Their quota is fifty percent of the fish in excess of the number estimated to maintain the fish stock. 21,000 LB seems a little high to me, but there are always outlaws, and not everyone should be penalized for the acts of one, or a few.

    On a brighter note; saw my first fall run salmon tonight in the river.

  • Tribal fishers can only fish on reservation. Klamath fish are caught outside KMZ all of the time, both North and South. No foreign boats are allowed to fish within 200 miles of US shores so no Japanese harvest of Klamath fish. Harvest is managed to maintain max sustained yield which means it doesn’t matter if fish are caught in river as long as floor is met. It’s funny people think if Natives didn’t fish the fish they didn’t catch would just be caught by non-natives in ocean. It really doesn’t matter where they are caught in terms of management.

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