"We’re marking an important milestone in cooperative salmon co-management this year. It’s the 25th anniversary of the North of Falcon process for setting treaty tribal and non-Indian fishing seasons in western Washington.
We’ve sure come a long way in that time.
The 1974 Boldt Decision made it clear: Treaty Indian tribes in western Washington had reserved rights to half of the harvestable salmon returning to state waters and were equal partners with the state of Washington in managing the resource.
Slade Gorton, who was Washington’s attorney general at that time, told Gov. Dan Evans the state didn’t have to implement the ruling. The case would be won on appeal, he said, but he was wrong.
For the next few years the state refused to implement the ruling and there was chaos on the water. People took the law into their own hands. It got so bad that Judge Boldt suspended the state’s authority to manage salmon for several months and put the National Marine Fisheries Service in charge.
Those were dark days, but through them we were able to discover a path toward cooperation instead of litigation. That path led to the North of Falcon process, named for the cape on the Oregon coast that marks the southern boundary of the management area for Washington salmon stocks, which extends to the Canadian border."
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(Indian Country Today 3/19)