Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Comes to Bethel to Talk Co-Management

by Ben Matheson on June 11, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.48.54 PMAs this summer’s king salmon closure stretches on, village councils around the Y-K Delta are considering resolutions to establish a commission for tribal co-management of fish. Native leaders from the Pacific Northwest who have done just that will be at a fish summit Thursday and Friday hosted by Yupiit Nation.

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Mike Williams of Akiak is Chief of the Yupiit Nation. He says the meeting comes as people struggle with empty fish racks.

“Many of the elders are in tears because they have not seen a king and I think that is very sad,” said Williams.

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission was founded as a result of the emotionally charged “Fish Wars” in the 60s ad 70s. The “Fish Wars” spurred a court case about broken fishing treaties.

Led, until recently, by the late Billy Frank Junior, the group assists 20 tribes in western Washington with scientific and logistic support for co-management. Williams says they have had success with tribal co-management.

“They’re going to be here to have a thoughtful conversation on how we can unite instead of what I see here with disunity and frustration,” said Williams.

The meeting takes place at the ONC multipurpose building in Bethel Thursday and Friday.

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