The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission coordinates management policy and provides fisheries technical services for the Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes.
CRITFC’s mission is “to ensure a unified voice in the overall management of the fishery resources, and as managers, to protect reserved treaty rights through the exercise of the inherent sovereign powers of the tribes.”
This mission is accomplished with four primary goals:
1. Put Fish Back in the Rivers and Protect Watersheds Where Fish Live
CRITFC provides our four member tribes and the region with invaluable biological research, fisheries management, hydrology, and other science to support the protection and restoration of Columbia River Basin salmon, lamprey, and sturgeon. The vision of this goal is to reverse the decline of salmon, lamprey, and sturgeon and rebuild their numbers to full productivity. This work is guided by the holistic principles outlined in Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit (Spirit of the Salmon), the tribal salmon plan that addresses recommended restoration actions in every phase of the salmon’s lifecycle from stream to ocean and back.
2. Protect Tribal Treaty Fishing Rights
CRITFC employs lawyers, policy analysts, and fisheries enforcement officers who work to ensure that tribal treaty rights are protected. All of these activities are done in careful coordination with and under the direction of member tribes. The commission works closely with state and federal agencies to ensure fair harvest sharing between tribal and non-tribal fisheries.
3. Share Salmon Culture
CRITFC shares news, information, and the tribal perspective on a variety of issues. Common topics include salmon and lamprey restoration, the nature of treaty fishing rights, and tribal culture. This effort ranges from school children to policy makers. By educating the general public on these topics, the tribes hope to increase interest for productive partnerships and support in the effort to restore Columbia River Basin salmon and lamprey.
4. Provide Fisher Services
CRITFC provides a variety of services directly to fishers from its member tribes. The Salmon Marketing program provides fishers from the four member tribes with resources to help them carry on the tradition of making a living from fishing, whether that be from commercial, over-the-bank, or value-added fish sales. The organization also operates and maintains 31 fishing access sites along the Columbia River for the exclusive or near-exclusive use of the fishers from all the member tribes.
Help in the Work:
CRITFC accepts cash donations to help carry out the priorities listed above. Currently the greatest need is supplemental assistance for tribal fishers living along the Columbia River who are dealing with health access issues, food scarcity, and struggles with remote learning for the children during the pandemic. To make a tax-deductible donation to this effort, click here to go to our donation page.