The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will not work with area Native American tribes to get the federal permit to hold salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, the agency announced Tuesday. The department met with tribal leaders Tuesday in Shelton, but the talks reached an impasse, according to a state news release.
Tribal officials announced Wednesday morning they would seek their own federal permit as well.
The state has worked with the tribes to set the fishing seasons every year since the mid-1980s.
A permit from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries is required for there to be fisheries in Puget Sound because some fish stocks there are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The biggest issue is the expected low numbers of returning coho salmon.
“There likely is not going to be any fisheries this summer,” said Ron Warren, the department’s salmon policy lead, “but we’ll be working to get people on the water as soon as we can.”
Warren estimated it would take the department a little more than a week to prepare the permit application. It could take, however, eight months to a year for the federal agency to approve a permit from the state, Warren said.
“Our differences are in how we want to conduct our fisheries and share our conservation burden,” Warren said of the impasse.
The tribes have said they will greatly restrict their fisheries this year to minimize impacts on coho. They will close all directed fisheries on returning coho except in a few terminal areas with harvestable hatchery fish, according to a news release.
Staff writer Jeffrey P. Mayor contributed to this report.