Thanks Makaw tribe [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Thanks Makaw tribe

02-01-2005, 02:44 PM

This mornings Seattle Times had an article on the sport pages about the Makaw Tribe out of Neah Bay Washington taking 19,500 Chinook Salmon over their 500 fish quota in one weeks time. This will be a disaster to not only the sport fishing season but to the other tribes located further inland. The Washington fish & game tried contacting the tribe by phone about the over kill but got no calls back. I swear to god that our Washington fish and game is the poorest example of conservation on the entire planet. The FBI should have been called in on this right away. The tribe must be punished and the state must come down hard on F&G for not catching this mess early on.

salt dog
02-01-2005, 03:17 PM
That is simply off the scale as too hard to believe.

I keep trying to imagine, what were they thinking; arrogance is what keeps popping into mind. Does anybody really feel that they have a right to fish until the last one is caught and canned? or do they just not give a rip. Ecological terrorism, or just plaint stupidity. Again, the arrogance is unbelievable.

I am sure we will now see a long litany of spin doctors and apologists making excuses, making this into a racial thing sooner or later, until the environmental holocaust is overshadowed by racial finger pointing.

Thanks for the post OC. Rape of the environment is usually a more subtle act or ommission than this.

Brian Simonseth
02-01-2005, 03:28 PM


Makah salmon catch causes concern

By Mark Yuasa

Seattle Times staff reporter

An enormous catch of chinook salmon during the Makah Tribe's winter troll fishery apparently exceeded, by about 19,500 fish, the estimate set by state Fish and Wildlife and is causing concern.

An e-mail yesterday from Pat Pattillo of the state Fish and Wildlife's salmon intergovernmental policy group to the sportfishing advisory board said, "We have been informed the treaty troll fishery in Strait of Juan de Fuca has taken 20,000 chinook (through Jan. 10)."

Under state Fish and Wildlife's salmon fishing season package, the Makah's winter catch was supposed to be around 500 chinook in Catch Areas 4B (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (Port Angeles).

"I'm not sure what the effect will be, but it doesn't look good and we had assumed that the catch was going to be 500 fish," said Phil Anderson, a state Fish and Wildlife salmon policy coordinator.

The fish managers will have to adjust the amount of chinook that can be caught by all other commercial, tribal and sports fishers in the 2005-06 fishing seasons so as to not make a severe dent in Washington's wild chinook stocks of concern.

"The implications of this large catch are quite serious," Pattillo said. "The specific impacts are uncertain at this time, but it is likely that this catch will affect ocean (and Puget Sound) fishing opportunities."

The forecasts available from the state on March 1 for Snake River fall wild chinook and Puget Sound weak wild chinook stocks such as mid-Hood Canal, Stillaguamish and Skagit wild chinook could be less than anticipated because of this unexpected catch.

This large catch has occurred in U.S. fisheries at the same time the U.S. is expressing objections to Canada in the Pacific Salmon Treaty forum over increased impacts on Columbia River and Puget Sound chinook stocks.

The Makah troll fishery, Pattillo says, is managed not under a quota but as a season, just like most Puget Sound sport fisheries.

Each year when state, federal, tribal, sport and commercial fishing constituents set salmon seasons, they come up with estimates on the number of fish that can be taken in all fisheries and are expected to stay within that ballpark figure.

"We will be contacting (the) Makah to discuss the issue and will request they close the fishery," Pattillo said.

The tribe could not be reached for comment.

State Fish and Wildlife will unveil Puget Sound, coastal Washington and Columbia River salmon abundance forecasts March 1 in Olympia. Final salmon fishing seasons for 2005-06 will be announced April 4-8 in Tacoma.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or

02-01-2005, 03:32 PM
Some numbers for the sport fishermen.

Entire coast of Oregon and Washington sport catch for this coming year 39,500 fish. Sportsmen catch for Neah Bay and La Push area, 5,600 Chinook this coming year. Guess what!

Brian Simonseth
02-01-2005, 04:02 PM
"The forecasts available from the state on March 1 for Snake River fall wild chinook and Puget Sound weak wild chinook stocks such as mid-Hood Canal, Stillaguamish and Skagit wild chinook could be less than anticipated because of this unexpected catch."

Working with both Watershed Groups (Stillaguamish and Skagit) this is BAD news!

02-01-2005, 04:05 PM
There is a reason the Makaw Tribe was forced to stay at the extreme nothwest tip of the state by the other tribes, which occured before the non-tirbal people came on the scene. The arrogance of the Makaw Tribe is something else, for instance, last year they imposed rediculous prices for morage of non-tribal boats in Neah Bay in order to force the non-tribal charter boats out of the area.

I'll bet the other tribes are not going to be happy about this since it will cut into the fish available for harvest by them. The Bolt decision said the tribes can harvest 50% of the harvestable surplus of a salmon species in a particular river system. Since the Makaw have taken at least 19,000 more than the number alloted (in other words their share of the 50% harvest was 500 fish and they took 19,500) to them for harvest, the other tribes down the coast, in Puget Sound, in Hood Canal, along the Straight of Juan De Fuca, and the Columbia Basin in WA State are going to have their harvest number severely impacted with some tribes likely not getting a fishery at all.

I do wonder what the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission response to this gross defiance of allowable harvest numbers is going to be. Billy Frank, the commission chair, has been very vocal about sportsmen and non-tribal commercials being responsible for reduced numbers of fish. I won't hold my breath for he and the Nortwest Indian Fisheries Commission to condemn the Makaw Tribe. Instead, I predict he will spin it into non-tribal sportsmen are trying to keep the tribes from excercising their treaty fishing rights.


I agree wholeheartedly, the FBI or US Marshal's Service should have been contacted since the state has no enforcement authority due to the tribes treaty status. However, I do think the state ought to seriously look at taking this tribe to federal court for such a gross violation of harvest allotments under Bolt.

02-01-2005, 05:56 PM
For several months there has been an add for "Fresh Troll Caught King Salmon" in the local newspaper I called the number to inquire as to the source and the size freshness etc. I was told that they were from the Makah troll fishery and that they were from 4.5 to 6 pounds and they were selling for $3.65 retail. I asked if there were any fish over 12# as I was considering a fresh King for Christmas dinner the fellow who was selling told me he hadn't seen any bigger than 7#, the fish were being offered head on gutted and gilled.
What a waste harvesting King Salmon when there so small that they are worth so little just as a buisness proposition its foolish and it will as most of you have figured really get the rest of the "Parties" up in arms.

02-01-2005, 07:40 PM
What are the chances of getting the regulation changed to quota instead of time? Clearly time based regulations are a total joke!

This could be just the opportunity to press WA F&W into changing this inept policy, proven to be ineffective, into quota based.

02-01-2005, 07:47 PM

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission would have to agree to a quota system too (or impose it on the tribes :chuckle: ) because of the Bolt decision making the state and tribes co-managers of the resource. I agree there should be a quota and not number of days to fish.


It is nothing short of amazing to me that the Makah's have been out catching these immature kings. I would venture a guess that the number they have taken has something to do with the lack of blackmouth in the sound.

02-01-2005, 11:23 PM
Good evening,
State and Federal authorities should continue to be contacted untill commitment from them to proceed with investigations.
Sanctions should be imposed on the Makah, along with heafty fines, jailtime, and a reduction in future harvests to the amount of 10% of the F&W estamates over say the next 10 years. Any commerical venture that benifited from this enviromental nightmare (Resturant, etc) should be held acountable as well.

I mean, what would happen to us, if we started pulling hundreds of fish out of the water and selling them in the newspaper????

Fines of $5,000 to $25,000 and sentences of 6 months to 1 1/2 years per offense is not unreasonable, as they have been imposed and held up in similar cases of wildlife mismanagement.

WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!!!! Like I said, if it were me, they would be all over my sorry but....DH

02-02-2005, 08:59 AM
Will there be justice, I just don't know. All we know up untill yesterday and it still may be going on is that the Makaw Tribe has been fishing now for over 3 weeks. I beleive the numbers reported were for the date up till January 10th. Maybe 35 or 40 thousand fish have been taken by now.

The Makaw Tribe aside there has to be an investigation into our state fisheries department. If this fisheries is managed by both the tribe and the state then why was there not someone from both departments monitering the catch? An investigation must be federal not state run though the governor of Washington must be asking some mighty strong questions to the department. Maybe it's time for the fisheries director to step down and his cast of incredibly old school heads of individual departments to step down also. For years I have tried my hardest to give fisheries the suport they needed under the situation of co management and poor funding. But someone has to step up and take the blame on this one right away. Somehow some good has to come of this, maybe the state will now push for a federal court date against the tribes. I do not want to see the tribes loose their 50% but we must have changes in how things are managed.

I hope at tonights meeting of the WSC that we have a long public talk about this situation and that we bring every sport fishing group together and most importantly all environmental groups throughout the region together on this. We must get the non fishing public informed on what has been going on for a long time now. That will be the only way to stop this type of situation and get things where they need to be as intended by the law.

02-02-2005, 11:43 AM
Our local paper had a "Quarter Story" about the Makah overfishing this morning. I say quarter story because it was very breif and had a very small headline considering the potential ramifications of the event.
If those fish averaged 6# and they actually took 20,000 then you can figure that the cost of potentialy shutting down the rest of the King Salmon seasons was for a little more than $250,000. Thats assuming a 40% markup is what the retail seller was tacking on to ex vessel price (it was probably more resulting in an even lower ex vessel price.)
I guess if we were one a very few fellows who were out there harvesting we would be viewing this in a different light!

02-02-2005, 01:49 PM

And just think, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission had that wonderful "tribal salmon meeting" a week of so ago to tell us sportsmen how wonderfully all the tribes are managing and protecting the resource. Doesn't it just make you want to puke that the PR machine is out giving the party line while the Makah is thumbing its nose at their harvest allotment and takes so many over the 500 fish they were to have as a maximum harvest in this fishery.

And I really hope the Makahs are taken to court over this, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Especially since I've heard nothing about it from the governor's office or AG.


The local newspaper sounds like it is worried about making the Makah Tribe angry. It would be very nice if the newspapers would put this stuff on the front page where it belongs.


Yes, there have been folks arrested for poaching (which is really what the Makah Tribal fishermen's action are) protected fish and for exceeding harvest limits. And with the federally listed Skagit and Stilliguamish chinook, there have been fines of up to $5,000 imposed, boats have been confiscated, fishing gear has been confiscated, and fishing rights revoked for 5 years. I don't think the Makah fishermen should be treated any differently because violating the law is violating the law, period.

salt dog
02-02-2005, 02:03 PM
Sounds like the local newspaper rag is trying to be politically correct, when they should be shouting from the parapets, asking what is being done. So much for investigative reporting.

Has anyone placed a call or spoken with a government agency to see what, if any, action is being considered by the State?
I wonder what would happen if I called the poaching hotline. :hihi:

I never did see in the article how this information came to light; anyone know?

02-02-2005, 02:17 PM
Hopefully there was a leak from someone from the WDFW. We need people in that department to come forward.

02-02-2005, 02:52 PM
The latest news is that the Makahs deny that what is reported never happened. They are meeting with the state at 3 pm today. I talked to the reporter Mark Yuasa and he said he would know more after the meeting. He would not give out where he got the information from but sounded very confident it was true. The Seattle times will continue to cover story and hopefully it will be on the front page not the sport section. Also King 5 news did a story on it at noon but because GW being on the air tonight will not cover this evening.

salt dog
02-02-2005, 03:32 PM
King 5 just ran with the Associated Press story, but it had this comment:

Makah Fisheries Manager Russell Svec told The Associated Press on Tuesday he needed more information before commenting on the Times' report.

It will be interesting to see what there is to be said tomorrow. Only problem is that, between the spin the tribe will put on it, and the typical distortion from the news media, its going to be hard to know what to believe was said by whom. :confused:

02-02-2005, 03:57 PM

And I still notice the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and its chairman Billy Frank, Jr. is still silent on this. If it were a non-tribal commercial who did this, Billy Frand, Jr, and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission would have been all over it and getting as much press and air time as possible. I'm not surprised the Makah claim it didn't happen, but I find it interesting the Makah are still meeting with the state today at 3 p.m.

Salt Dog,

I'm not surprised the Makah fisheries manager would say he needed more information before he would comment. He needs to find out how his tribal council and the tirbe's attorney want to do damage control. Personally, I think this fisheries manager needs to be held accountable as does the tribal council for their part in allowing/approving the fishery to continue.

02-02-2005, 04:26 PM
The story is in its early stages, at least it has gone AP. We must be sure that WDFD and NWIFC do not pull any BS on this. And if the story is not true there must be an investigation into how it came about. Hey you know I have a Makah tribe member siting in my office right now on non related issues. I asked him about it but he said he knows nothing of the story and does not fish in anyway.

salt dog
02-02-2005, 06:38 PM
You're right, of course; it's to early to make judgments, but on the face of the story, if basically true, makes it hard not to. Patience is seldom my best suit. Let's see what today's meeting spawns.

02-03-2005, 08:21 AM
Well the Tribe didn't even get a hand slap. Check out the article on the seattle times sport page by Mark Yuasa this morning.

It stated that the Makah tribe will announce today weather it will close a controversial Tribal fishery that has already exceeded the states catch expectations by more than 18,000 chinook.

State Fish & Wildlife and the Makah Tribe Fish Managers met yesterday to discuss the tribes winter troll fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. But the decision on continuing the season is up the Makah's to make.

What the hell is this all this about!?!?!?

new yawk
02-03-2005, 08:50 AM
the authorities are going to "discuss" it with the tribe? and they can't even get them to return phone calls??? what the f--k? call your congressman, or whoever... this is really wrong. write letters... i live in new york, and i will devote time to this today. it's insulting to anyone who cares about the environment and follows laws.

02-03-2005, 10:28 AM
A tribal official was quoted as being very upset with the State officiale for putting out this incorrect information!!! It seems that they were fishing on the guideline harvest number of 1,600 King Salmon for the winter fall season. The tribe claims that this is a very small fraction of the salmon that they harvest and will certainly not impact any other tribes commercial or sport fisheries.
They went on to complain that the State has created "Harm" in that they are receiving calls from irate sportfishers who are going to "Boycott" Neah Bay this summer for sport fishing.
And they did admit to the 20,00 fish harvest number which probably means ........ :Eyecrazy:
One thing about being in the Fish management bussiness down here in Washington you always get to know who your enemys are, and that appears to be just about everybody on any given day. :lildevl:

02-03-2005, 07:06 PM
OC and Moonlight,

Don't you just love the way the tribe is going to decide and then announce if it going to close this "controversial fishery"! What a bunch of crap. The state simply discusses it with the tribe and then lets the tribe decide what it is going to do. And then the tribe has the guts to say with a straight face it has done nothing wrong and that state has caused them harm because the tribe is getting phone calls from irate sportsmen!! What arrogance.

I have also noticed that our governor, who during her campaign told us she would do right by the resource and not let one user group take more than their proper share, has been totally silent on this. I've also noticed the state's AG has likewise been silent. Then there is the feds who ought to be involved because there are probably threatened or endangered chinook stocks in the Makah harvest.

I thought perhaps the state would have the backbone to take the Makah to court to enforce the harvest number they are entitled to. It sure looks like the state is going to do nothing but roll over and play dead once more when it comes to a tribe's blatent disregard for the harvest rules. The tribe admits to taking the fish and then says it was entitled to 1,600, not 500 so the state is wrong! What about the 18,000 they admitted to harvesting beyond the 1,600 quota. Oh, I get it, the tribe never agreed to limit its catch to 1,600 fish, so they can do whatever they wish. And of course, this will not impact any other user group. Hmmm.... And they will decide later today (or tomorrow, or ....) if they will stop fishing. Wonder how long the state would look the other way and let sportsfishers continue to harvest far more fish than allocated.

And then they wonder why sportsmen get angry at them. Of course, it will be the state's fault is sportsfisher boycott Neah Bay this summer because of the "harm done to the tribe" from making the harvest number known. I suppose we sportsfisher should be made to pay a license surchage in order to reimburse the Makah for lost revenue if sportsfishermen boycott Neah Bay this summer.

What the heck happened to Bolt's required co-management between the tribe and the state?

02-03-2005, 09:27 PM

the tribe backed down last year in regard to their ridiculous demands for moorage for non-tribal charter boats. it was brought back up again this season, but the charters have accepted a huge (259% - $1.35 to $3.50) increase in passenger fees and a minor increase in moorage per foot.

i think this may change the 2005 neah bay clave. i'm still going to be hanging my hat out at neah bay this summer. i'll post on the saltwater salmon forum to see if the 2005 clave is still a possibility.

the first north of falcon meeting is march 1. it'll be interesting to see the consequences of this (if any) at the meeting.


02-04-2005, 12:20 AM
I see the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission has released its response today. The NWIFC said the Makah fishery was consistent with the pre-season plan developed by the tribal and state co-managers.

Isn't this wonderful! The tribe takes more than 18,000 more fish than that allocated to it in this fishery (at least that was the total as of January 10th, and they were still fishing as of yesterday, so I wonder how many more thousands were taken since January 10th) and it is consistent with the pre-season harvest plan!!!

What a bunch of crap. No amount of spin is going to negate the complete disregard by the Makah Tribe and its fisheries manager displayed for the 1,600 fish allocation the pre-season harvest plan said was OK. I wonder how long I could get away with ignoring my sports catch harvest limit on salmon or steelhead and then be able to say I was being consistent with the season harvest limits.

Then for the Makah Tribal Council and fisheries manager to further claim that this huge overharvest will not impact other user groups because it is simply an indication of the abundance of the fish!!! I wonder how the upstream treaty tribes are going to view this since the Makah harvest comes out of the 50% total harvest allocated to the treaty fishing tribes. It may prove to be an interesting spring and summer. I also wonder how long the NWIFC is going to be putting the spin on this about the Makahs being consistent with the pre-season harvest plan when the other tribes (which the NWIFC are supposedly also representing) start demanding their share of the fish. The North of Falcon meeting in March may prove to be very interesting indeed as a result of the Makah's actions in this.

Oh well, the Makah Tribal Council is consistent with its statements in the past that they have the right to take as much of the statewide 50% tribal harvest as possible since the fish travel through their waters first.

Perhaps it is time for NOAA-F to take over management and enforcement of harvest of the Makah's fishing as per Bolt's decision, which requires the managers (whether an individual tribe or the state) to demonstrate they can manage the resource properly. It certainly looks like the Makah are at best unwilling to properly manage their fishery if not unable to do so.

But wait, the state could provide the other tribes with harvest opportunity by simply giving them a portion of the sportsmen's and non-tribal commercial's 50% share. Of course this would mean the sportsmen and non-tribal commercials would have to have reduced harvest opportunity.

I did happen to catch a very short blurb on KING 5's 6 o'clock news on this though. The Makah are certainly not very happy with the response of sportsfishers at this point. And it is clear they are not happy with WDFW for providing the public with the harvest number of 20,000 and the allocated Makah number of 500, which the tribe claims was really 1,600, since the tribe is claiming the state has caused them harm from releasing these numbers.

Before someone accuses me of being racist or anti-Indian I've got to go on record as saying like Brian has already that there are tribes who are doing a good job of protecting and attempting to restore fish runs. What the Makah Tribe has done needs to be kept focused on the Makah and not allowed to be made into a tribal problem in general, which it is not. This is a problem of the Makah Tribe overharvesting and only a reflection on their actions, not the actions of the other tribes. I personally have no problem with the tribes having a right to 50% of the harvestable surplus of fish or with tribal co-management of the resource. I do have a problem when any tribe, non-tribal commercial, or sportsman harvests more than the portion of harvest allocated to that user group, and the Makah have certainly exceeded their harvest in this fishery.