Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) announced a historic accord on a shared responsibility and common strategy to combat poaching of critically low populations of steelhead and coho salmon on the Garcia River in northern California.
Huffman joined Nelson Pinola, chair of the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, to convene multiple meetings over the past four months involving representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, North Coast Water Quality Control Board, as well as conservation groups to address the poaching problems on the river.
The Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomos drafted a resolution to work with agencies and abide by state and federal fishing regulations. Under the resolution, tribal members will not fish for endangered and listed fish such as coho salmon and steelhead, but instead will accept fish from other sources for ceremonial and other tribal purposes. In addition, fishing IDs will be issued to all members of the tribe for identification purposes. New fishing information signs are being created to hang throughout the Garcia Watershed, and plans for multi-agency and tribal monitoring are being formulated.
“I’m glad the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo and all government agencies were able to come together to create a unique cooperative framework to prevent poaching on the Garcia River. This is not only critical for fragile salmonid populations on the river, it could serve as a guide for partnerships across the country,” Congressman Huffman said. “After more than two decades of hard restoration work, the Garcia River is in recovery. But fishery populations are still critically low and we must ensure that these endangered fish are protected, all while respecting the tribe’s right to fish in their waters.” More....