Columbia River Compact

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Columbia River Compact
Formation date: 1918
Member jurisdictions: 2
Issue(s): Natural resource management

The Columbia River Compact is an interstate compact between Oregon and Washington that regulates the commercial fishing seasons on the lower Columbia River.


At the turn of the twentieth century, commercial fishing on the Columbia River was governed by competing laws and regulations in Oregon and Washington. Through the compact, conceived in 1915 and authorized by Congress in 1918, the fish and wildlife departments of each state set the commercial fishing season. Under the compact, neither state may make changes in their commercial fishing regulations or season without the consent of the other state.

In developing the compact, the two states apportioned the river into six fishing zones over 302 miles. One zone - covering approximately 147 miles - is set aside exclusively for Indian fisheries. Per federal law, Indian fishers are entitled to half the harvestable surplus fish of the river. Accordingly, fisheries in the remaining five zones must ensure they leave enough fish to allow the Indian fishers their legal share.[1]

Text of the compact

The legislature of each member state passes the laws with certain modifications, but the core of the legislation remains the same.

"There exists between the states of Washington and Oregon a definite compact and agreement as follows:

All laws and regulations now existing or which may be necessary for regulating, protecting or preserving fish in the waters of the Columbia river, or its tributaries, over which the states of Washington and Oregon have concurrent jurisdiction, or which would be affected by said concurrent jurisdiction, shall be made, changed, altered and amended in whole or in part, only with the mutual consent and approbation of both states.

The commission may give to the state of Oregon such consent and approbation of the state of Washington as is necessary under the compact set out in RCW 77.75.010. For the purposes of RCW 77.75.010, the states of Washington and Oregon have concurrent jurisdiction in the concurrent waters of the Columbia river."

See also

External links

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