HJM 9: Supporting Idaho’s Steelhead Economy – 2019
ICL's position: Support
Current Bill Status: Passed
Issue Areas: Salmon and Steelhead
When steelhead returns are robust, it’s hard to find a hotel room between McCall and Moscow. Unfortunately, steelhead runs have been declining for years, and many of Idaho’s rural communities have felt, and are feeling, the pain. Both hatchery and wild runs of steelhead have been suffering, but wild fish are facing a real risk of extinction in our lifetimes.
That’s why many anglers, outfitters and community advocates were concerned in 2018, when the Idaho Department of Fish and Game nearly cancelled the 2018/19 steelhead season over a failure to obtain a federal permit required under the Endangered Species Act, called an Incidental Take Permit (ITP). An ITP recognizes the risk to some steelhead from a fishing season, as long as appropriate precautions are taken to minimize impacts and promote species recovery. Due to other priorities, Idaho’s ITP application has gone unanswered since it was submitted to the federal government in 2010. Attempts to kickstart consideration of Idaho’s application were further hampered by the 35-day government shutdown that recently concluded.
House Joint Memorial 9, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star) and Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise), urges the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – National Marine Fisheries Service to promptly complete the ITP, to avoid further issues with Idaho’s steelhead season.