Yurok Tribe Closes Fishing Four Days Per Week, Partially Blames Marijuana Farms
In response to the decline of wild spring Chinook salmon in the Klamath-Trinity Basin and concern about the status of green sturgeon, the Yurok Tribal Council has adopted stringent spring fishing regulations, including a four-day per week closure. “Closing the fishery is never an easy decision for our Council, especially when similar efforts aren’t made by others that harvest these imperiled stocks,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Our people depend on these fish to feed their families. We decided to make this sacrifice today to protect this crucial spring staple for future generations.”
The Tribe is concerned that wild spring Chinook of the Klamath Basin, especially those from the South Fork Trinity River (SFTR), are following a trend toward extirpation. More than 11,000 adult spring Chinook were estimated to return to the South Fork in 1964, yet during four of the last 12 years, less than 100 fish were counted during snorkel surveys of the river. Poor habitat is the primary factor that has led to the decline of spring Chinook, which has motivated the Tribe to engage in habitat restoration efforts in the SFTR. Harvest is not considered to be a primary factor contributing to stock’s decline, however the Tribe considers prudent harvest management to be a necessary tool to preserve this stock for future generations.