An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation ~ for Native Americans
This is a shortened excerpt from a much longer document entitled Conserving America’s Fisheries An Assessment of Economic Contributions prepared by Joseph John Charbonneau, Ph.D., and James Caudill, Ph.D.
This Assessment highlights the work of the Service’s Fisheries Program and its
accomplishments that generate economic benefits for the American people.
Cooperation with Native Americans
Assistance that is provided to the Tribes by the Service results in the management, protection, and conservation of their statutorily defined trust natural resources which helps Tribes develop their own capabilities. The Fisheries Program plays an important role in providing support to the Tribes as they exercise their sovereignty in the management of fish and wildlife resources on more than 55 million acres of Federal Indian trust land and in treaty reserve areas. The Fisheries Program provides technical assistance and fish for stocking on Tribal lands. With the assistance of the Service, tribes have developed and expanded their fish and wildlife management programs that oversee the conservation, protection and preservation of their natural resources. This has increased the economic and social opportunities for many Tribes. Revenues generated through recreational and commercial fishing on Tribal lands have helped support tribal governments and furthered the development of capabilities for the Tribes to manage their fishery resources. Additionally, retail sales related to recreational fishing on tribal lands provides significant revenues to tribes and local economies. For example, every dollar spent raising trout at Alchesay-Williams Creek NFH Complex, Arizona, that are stocked on Tribal lands in the Southwest, generates $19 dollars in retail sales (Caudill, 2006).
Types of Activities
Providing technical assistance to tribes
Providing fish for stocking on Tribal lands
Providing technical training and job opportunities to Tribal members.
The National Fish Hatchery System has a unique responsibility in helping to recover species listed under the http://www.fws.gov/endangered/index.html Endangered Species Act, restoring native aquatic populations, mitigating for fisheries lost as a result of federal water projects, and providing fish to benefit Tribes and National Wildlife Refuges. This section of the report summarizes NFH stocking which is allocated to Indian tribes (note: this section focuses on stocking only and does not estimate the economic value or impact associated with the distribution and stocking of fish to tribes. The Public Use section of the report does include tribal stocking and an estimate of economic value and impact).
Chinook salmon accounted for over 1.95 million fish, which represented 25.1 percent of total stocked fish allocated to tribes. Coho salmon accounted for 1.77 million fish and 22.8 percent of the total, and rainbow trout and walleye accounted for 1.6 million and 955 thousand stocked fish and 20.6 and 12.3 percent of total tribal stocking respectively. All species of salmon accounted for 3.7 million stocked fish and 47.9 percent of all stocked fish with all species of trout accounting for 2.7 million stocked fish and 34.5 percent of total tribal stockings.
Examples of Cooperation with Native Americans Accomplishments
Tribal assistance in conducting fish health inspections
Fish health inspections are conducted each year at Tribal fish hatcheries by fish health biologists from the LaCrosse Fish Health Center through reimbursable agreements. Fish health biologists collected 915 fish tissue and fluid samples from brook trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, and walleye reared at the tribal hatcheries. The fish were inspected for eight fish pathogens as listed in the Great Lakes Fish Health Policy Guidelines. The Center provided confirmatory or other specialized tests needed to substantiate or refute test results of health inspections. The Center provides fish health laboratory reports, guidance and recommendations to the tribal hatchery manager based on the laboratory findings. The Fish Health Center also inspected wild populations of northern pike and yellow perch in ceded tribal waters in Wisconsin for detection of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus, in cooperation with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).
Tribal assistance in fishery management
Fishery assessment field work was conducted on Menominee and White Earth Reservations. Data from these surveys will be used to develop management plans, make immediate fishery recommendations, and develop action plans. Topical areas include: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) re-licensing, fish passage, sturgeon restoration, and trout management. La Crosse FWCO assisted GLIFWC with spring walleye assessments on Mille Lacs Lake in Central Minnesota. We also obtained and transported lake sturgeon eggs from Rainy River First Nations (Canada) to Genoa NFH for the Red Lake Band, and provided technical assistance on fish passage issues and fishery surveys to the White Earth and Menominee tribes.
Returning Coho Salmon to the Wa’atch River
Returning adult coho salmon to the Wa’atch River contribute to international and domestic ocean commercial fisheries. In addition, adult returns support important tribal commercial and subsistence fisheries on the Makah Reservation and offer quality sport fishing opportunities to the general public. The coho salmon program was initiated in response to the low returns of adult salmon to the region in the early 1970's, due primarily to overfishing, habitat degradation and poor ocean conditions. As part of an ongoing annual stocking effort, in FY2008, the hatchery transferred 39,871 yearling coho smolts to the Makah Tribal acclimation ponds for release into the Wa'atch after several weeks of imprinting.
New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, New Mexico; Providing assistance to the
There are 22 Native American Tribes and Pueblos within the state of New Mexico. The New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NMFWCO) provide technical assistance in the management of fisheries on tribal lands for the benefit of recreation and/or native fish conservation. In the last three years, NMFWCO has provided technical assistance to 20 New Mexico Tribes with fishery management actions that adhere to management, recovery, and conservation plans. The office conducts spring lake surveys to evaluate population dynamics, focusing on subcatchable rainbow trout stocked in fall; conducts surveys to monitor post-fire effects to recreational lakes, including water quality and fish growth and survival, and help develop and implement fisheries management plans for five Native American Tribes. In cooperation with Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, NMFWCO inspects hatchery shipments for non-target organisms prior to each warm water stockings to avoid the stocking of non-target organisms commonly associated with warm water hatcheries. This is standard operating procedures for all National Fish Hatcheries in the Southwest. Avoidance of negative interactions between recreational and native fisheries programs is very important to many tribes as well as to Service biologists. The office also assists with mechanical removal of nonnative species that threaten native fish populations or invaded sacred water bodies. In collaboration with tribal partners, NMFWCO conducts surveys to evaluate native trout streams to assess the impacts on nonnative salmonids on native Rio Grande cutthroat trout populations on tribal lands. The NMFWCO also oversees the Youth Conservation Corp at the Mescalero Tribal Fish Hatchery for 8-week duration which allows Native American high school students to engage in multiple projects ranging from hatchery operations, trail construction, stream & riparian restoration, and spring renovation. In addition, NMFWCO participates annually in Southwest Region-Native American Fish and Wildlife Society Youth Practicum and Tribal Youth Environmental Summer Camp which provides tribal youth hands on experience and education about environmental issues facing tribal communities.
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