Laws and Regulations

Under Secretarial Order 3206 (signed by both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce), American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, it is recognized that the USFWS has trust responsibilities with respect to tribes. We are committed to our Tribal Trust Responsibilities to Native American Tribes as described by the Indian Trust Doctrine, developed in 1973 by the US Supreme Court and mandated in Secretarial Order #3206. The doctrine describes the trust responsibility that the Federal Government has in relation to Native Americans: in essence, a legal obligation to act in the Tribe's best interests, including duties to protect Tribal lands, fishing and hunting rights, and cultural and natural resources.

Our hatchery has a specific number of salmon needed to provide eggs and milt for a new generation of fish. Sometimes adult salmon return in greater numbers than we need. Anything above what is essential for our operations is given to the tribes or to other partners.

The adult summer Chinook salmon donated to the tribes each year are part of the Service’s duty to maintain and uphold the agency’s tribal trust obligations, as well as Grand Coulee Dam mitigation responsibilities. Through the tribal foods program, we ensure that local tribes still have access to a traditional food source for ceremonial and subsistence purposes, thereby maintaining a link to their cultural heritage.