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NORTHWEST INDIAN FISHERIES COMMISSION SAYS 'ONWARD AND UPWARD FOR CO-MANAGEMENT'

 NORTHWEST INDIAN FISHERIES COMMISSION SAYS
 'ONWARD AND UPWARD FOR CO-MANAGEMENT'
 SILVERDALE, Wash., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The treaty Indian tribes of western Washington and the Washington State Departments of Fisheries and Wildlife wrapped up an annual review of cooperative fisheries management programs here with a resounding statement of ongoing support for the process, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission said today.
 "We are the managers of this resource," Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairman Bill Frank Jr. told a group of tribal and agency officials. "If we're not, who is? Are the private property owners with vested interests the fisheries managers in this state? Or the out-of-state people with a lot of money? No. We, the state and tribal governments are in charge, and we'd better stay that way!"
 The comment followed a two-day session in which the state and tribal officials reviewed cooperative comprehensive management plans geared toward restoration of habitat and professional management of fisheries stocks.
 Officials agreed that success in cooperative fisheries management is the only reasonable path to coordinated fisheries, fish habitat protection, effective water management and other critical objectives. They also agreed it is the preferred alternative to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act by the federal government.
 The officials said that while there are naturally occurring cycles in fish runs, most fish stocks remain in relatively good condition, considering the amount of available habitat.
 "Co-management of the resource is working well," said Washington State Fisheries Director Joe Blum. "But we can do better. And the way to do better is to continue in our cooperative efforts."
 Officials at the meeting discussed issues ranging from reauthorization of the Marine Mammals Act to the status of salmon and steelhead stocks. They heard progress reports on the sports catch estimation study, fisheries plans resulting from international negotiations, wetlands management and population growth.
 The underlying theme of the meeting was clearly a continued endorsement of cooperative management by the state and the tribes as the single approach that can help assure the survival of the fish resource for the generations to come.
 "We all also recognized the need for all people in this state to understand co-management and support it," said Frank.
 -0- 5/8/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Robinson of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, 206-438-1180; or Tony Floor of the Washington State Fisheries Department, 206-753-6583/ CO: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission; Washington State
 Fisheries Department ST: Washington IN: SU:


SC-LM -- SE009 -- 8337 05/08/92 19:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 8, 1992
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