WASHINGTON STATE -- As the habitat for salmon deteriorates, local American Indian tribes say the risk to the salmon population is a risk to the tribes’ treaty rights.
Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Billy Frank Jr. says the federal government is not holding up their end of the treaties from the 1800s that preserve their rights to harvest fish and shellfish.
Executive Director of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Mike Grayum says the federal government and the Northwest Washington population as a whole needs to do more to protect the salmon and protect the treaty.
Both men say change is needed immediately to preserve the treaty by protecting the habitat.
Frank says the tribes are giving the government a chance to fix the problem before they resort to court action.