Friday, February 15, 2019

Bellingham, Lummi Reach Accord

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Bellingham and Lummi Nation announced on Wednesday, Feb. 13 that they have reached a landmark agreement that will go a long way in settling long-standing issues that have affected the Lummi Nation’s fishing grounds and stations.

In the region’s early days before the port existed, white settlers began dredging Bellingham Bay and Drayton Harbor for development, a move that ruined “valuable finfish and shellfish habitat and created a permanent obstruction to Lummi fishing areas protected by the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855 with the Federal Government,” according to the port, which now owns/operated the areas affected by these changes.

Instead of going to court, the port and the Lummi Nation decided to work on an agreement, allowing the port to maintain and upgrade its in-water facilities while providing the Lummi Nation with vessel moorage in Squalicum and Blaine Harbors for their fishing fleet.

“This agreement sets the stage for a new era of cooperation and economic prosperity. The port and Lummi Nation are working collaboratively to not only increase the number of salmon in local waters, but to also increase public understanding of the Lummi Nation’s treaty rights and cultural heritage,” noted the port.