Fishing Rights

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  • For a number of tribes in the West, particularly Northwest tribes, fishing has been and remains still vitally important to cultural, spiritual, and economic survival. Some have expanded traditional fishing into modern enterprises of commerce and recreation and created organizations like the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission to protect indigenous fishing rights and resources. However, in recent decades increased demands and competitions for fishing resources in the West have dramatically outstripped the supply. Declines in fish resources because of population growth, aggressive commercial fishing, and the degradation of natural waterways have only intensified the political struggles over the jurisdiction of fishing resources, resulting in numerous non–American Indian challenges to the fishing rights of tribes. At times those challenges have turned violent and racist. Native American ...

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