Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, IFR, Sue Over Salmon Disease Outbreak


PCFFA, IFR, the Yurok Tribe and Klamath Riverkeeper filed suit on November 29 for violations of salmon protections that lead to the infection of 90% of Klamath River Coho salmon in 2014 and 2015. The suit charges the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) with failing to prevent the disease outbreak by not releasing enough water out of Klamath River dams to flush the parasite out system.

The failure to release water to prevent fish disease is a violation of NMFS’ 2013 Biological Opinion (BiOp), which allows operation of the Klamath dams pursuant to fish protections designed to prevent putting the threatened Coho in additional jeopardy. The BiOp requires consultation between NMFS and BOR on changes to dam operations when infection rates exceed 49%. Plaintiffs are seeking a BiOp revision that would require flushing flows in the Spring that would flush the parasite out of the system.