The Columbia River
Interstate Compact is a partnership of the states of Washington and Oregon
through which the fish and wildlife departments of the two states set
commercial fishing seasons on the lower Columbia River. For this purpose the
river is divided into five fishing zones between the mouth of the river and
Bonneville Dam, a distance of 145 miles. A separate fishing zone, Zone 6, is
designated between Bonneville and McNary dams, a distance of 147 miles, exclusively
for Indian fisheries.
establishing fisheries in zones 1-5, the Compact must leave enough fish for
harvest in Zone 6 to meet the legal requirement that Indian fishers are
entitled to half the harvestable surplus of fish in the river.
Indian fishing is regulated under the ongoing U.S. District Court litigation known as U.S.
Columbia River Compact dates to 1915, when it was established by Washington and
Oregon to resolve the chaos that resulted every year when the states
established and tried to enforce their own
commercial fishing seasons
and regulations. The compact provides that neither state may change its fishing
regulations, which are identical, without the consent of the other. Congress
approved the Compact in 1918.