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September 04, 1998
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360)902-2256
Columbia Basin rivers remain open to sport steelhead and salmon fishing
PORTLAND--The Columbia, White Salmon and Lower Klickitat rivers and Drano Lake will remain open to sport salmon and steelhead fishing until further notice, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.
Oregon also announced it was recinding closures it had scheduled for the Columbia and its tributaries.
Today's decisions reverse closures for those rivers and Drano Lake scheduled to take effect Sunday (Sept. 6) because the National Marine Fisheries Service had failed to produce a biological opinion showing sport and tribal net fishing would not harm steelhead stocks protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
A federal judge here on Thursday agreed with Washington and Oregon and ruled the Endangered Species Act required NMFS to produce the biological opinion.
Federal officials today agreed to prepare the biological opinion regarding fall fisheries in the Columbia River and therefore the sport and tribal fisheries in the Columbia River system could continue within levels that would not jeopardize the protected steelhead stocks.
The protected stocks are the upper Columbia and Snake River steelhead.
The Columbia River Compact is the joint-state forum through which Washington and Oregon regulate Columbia Basin fishing.
The Compact today also set tribal net fisheries in the Columbia from Sept. 8-12.