The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission acknowledges and respects the sovereign status of Washington's federally recognized tribes. Under existing law, the overlapping nature of state and tribal jurisdiction and responsibilities creates a co-management relationship in which it is essential that the parties work together. The Commission recognizes that the preservation of healthy, robust, and diverse fish and wildlife populations is largely dependent on the state and the tribes working in a cooperative and collaborative manner. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is committed to a cooperative management relationship with the tribes. In the spirit of these acknowledgments, the Commission adopts the following policies to guide Department staff in their relationships with the tribes:
- The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work cooperatively with representatives of each tribal government in an effort to resolve all issues through direct communication and negotiation.
- The Department of Fish and Wildlife supports tribal self-determination and meaningful self-regulation, enforcement, and prosecution.
- The Department of Fish and Wildlife will engage tribal representatives in its decision making processes relative to wildlife management issues that affect tribal hunting.
- The Department of Fish and Wildlife commits to work jointly with the tribes in the development of an information and data exchange system that enhances the parties' ability to effectively communicate and collectively identify resource and hunting issues and concerns.
- The Department of Fish and Wildlife, in cooperation with tribal governments, will develop enforcement protocols to guide Department officers in their contacts with tribal hunters.