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West Coast immigrants' rights groups pan President Trump’s new immigration proposal as “elitist.” Also on the Friday rundown: Consumer advocates want stronger energy-efficiency standards. And we'll take you to a state that ranks near the bottom for senior mental health.

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Tribes and State Share a Table on Saving Salmon

November 19, 2007

Shelton, WA – Native American salmon fishing is governed partly by treaties from the mid-1800s, and partly by today's reality that wild salmon are endangered. In a rare meeting on Friday in Shelton, tribal representatives of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) told Washington's state Fish and Wildlife Commissioners that a shorter fishing season, or even a moratorium on fishing, are not the answers for saving salmon. The tribes believe restoring fish habitat should be the top priority.

Georgiana Kautz, natural resource manager for the Nisqually tribe and an NWIFC Commissioner, says she's hoping for a solution that's practical, rather than political.

"That's not what we want. We want it to be about the resource, about the environment, about the habitat, because we can quit fishing for 10 years, and it's not going to bring the salmon back."

Kautz explains that some of the 20 NWIFC tribes, with major ports and cities bordering their land, need more clean-up help from the state.

"Puyallup tribe has Commencement Bay, that is so polluted. The environment is terrible; they have so much degradation of that habitat. You could probably put $10 million into it and not see much difference."

Although they are legal co-managers of the state's wild salmon and much of its habitat, the two commissions had never met jointly until Friday. Tribes are legally entitled to 50 percent of the salmon harvest in Washington, but determining that amount is a complex process that Kautz says not many people understand. At the meeting, the two commissions decided to increase their communication to the public, and to work more closely together on habitat issues.

Chris Thomas/John Robinson, Public News Service - WA