Suquamish Tribe Can Fish Outside Usual Areas

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Courthouse News reports the Suquamish Tribe can fish in Puget Sound areas outside their traditional grounds, the 9th Circuit ruled, explaining that a 1978 federal court decision clearly allowed the tribe to fish in Saratoga Passage and Skagit Bay.

The Skagit Tribe and federal government challenged the Suquamish Tribe's fishing in these Puget Sound zones, as the Suquamish only recently changed their fishing patterns to include these areas.

The Suquamish Tribe, along with the state of Washington, appealed US District Judge Ricardo Martinez's grant of summary judgment to the Skagit Tribe.

The 9th Circuit found that the 1978 decision, written by now-deceased US District Judge Boldt, unambiguously defined the Puget Sound as bounded "from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the Fraser River." This clearly includes Saratoga Passage and Skagit Bay, the appeals court said, as these regions lie in the sound's center.

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