August 10, 2012
WDFW has received a copy of Governor Kitzhaber's letter to Bobby Levy, chair of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Roy Elicker, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, regarding salmon and sturgeon management issues associated with the commercial and recreational fishery in the Columbia River.
For nearly a century, Washington and Oregon have jointly managed fisheries on the lower river under authority granted to the states by Congress through the interstate Columbia River Compact.
We continue to believe that any effective long-term management plan must be developed by the two states working together, and that it must:
- Include jointly developed conservation objectives;
- Respect treaty Indian fishing rights and provide for close coordination with tribal fishery managers;
- Provide for shared hatchery production goals;
- Contain harvest management objectives for both commercial and recreational fisheries, recognizing their economic importance to both states; and
- Ensure the two states continue to have reciprocal regulations and concurrent enforcement authority.
We agree with Governor Kitzhaber that Columbia River fisheries management is very complex and requires the states to balance the legitimate needs and interests of many important groups and organizations. We respect the objectives he expresses in his letter, but are not bound by them.
The Washington Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife are ready to work with our counterparts in Oregon to engage in an open and transparent process to explore ways to improve the management of our commercial and recreational salmon and sturgeon fisheries in the lower Columbia River.
Director, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife