Chapter 1. Legislative Findings of California Fish And Game Code >> Division 13.5. >> Chapter 1.
The Legislature finds:
(a) Jurisdiction over the protection and development of natural
resources, especially the fish resource, is of great importance to
both the State of California and California Indian tribes.
(b) To California Indian tribes, control over their minerals,
lands, water, wildlife, and other resources within Indian country is
crucial to their economic self-sufficiency and the preservation of
their heritage. On the other hand, the State of California is
concerned about protecting and developing its resources; protecting,
restoring, and developing its commercial and recreational salmon
fisheries; ensuring public access to its waterways; and protecting
the environment within its borders.
(c) More than any other issue confronting the State of California
and California Indian tribes, the regulation of natural resources,
especially fish, transcends political boundaries.
(d) In many cases, the State of California and California Indian
tribes have differed in their respective views of the nature and
extent of state versus tribal jurisdiction in areas where Indians
have historically fished. Despite these frequent and often bitter
disputes, both the state and the tribes seek, as their mutual goal,
the protection and preservation of the fish resource. This division
is an attempt to provide a legal mechanism, other than protracted and
expensive litigation over unresolved legal issues, for achieving
that mutual goal on the Klamath River.
(e) The department has exercised jurisdiction over the Klamath
River from the mouth of the river through the Yurok Reservation and
the Hoopa Valley Reservation, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs and
the Indian tribes thereon have also asserted jurisdiction over that
river. The river itself lies within a disputed area and proper
management of the resource presents, therefore, unique and difficult
problems in the exercise of fishing practices by all user groups.
(f) Although commercial fishing may not be a traditional practice
of the tribes existing along the Klamath River within the boundaries
of the land of the Yurok Reservation and the Hoopa Valley
Reservation, nevertheless, the department has historically supported
the concept of tribal fishing, including a tribal commercial fishing
industry where the industry is consistent with the need to preserve
the species, sound management, and where that usage would not
adversely effect other user groups, including sportfishing and the
ocean commercial fishery.
(g) A commercial fishery existed on the Klamath River in the late
19th century and early 20th century, in which the Indian tribes
existing along the river participated, but commercial fishing was
abolished in 1933 with the passage of the predecessor to Section
8434, and, further, that salmon resources have declined historically
due to past water developmental policies and timber harvesting
practices. With a reduced number of fish available, special laws are
needed to protect those resources and allocate them fairly among the
various user groups.
(h) This division is not only enacted to provide the legal
mechanism described above, but is also intended to encourage
cooperative agreements to allow protection of the resource among all
of the user groups. In so doing, the Legislature recognizes the
unique status of the Klamath River and the fishing therein.