Media Contact: Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release: September 1, 1978

Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus, accompanied by his Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Forrest Gerard, will visit the lower Klamath River area in northern California next Thursday, September 7, for meetings with Indian leaders concerned about fishing controversies in that region.

The Secretary's decision came after discussions with Yurok Indian spokesmen, State officials and others concerned. It followed a "fish-in" by Indians early this week protesting against State and Federal closure of the Klamath below the highway bridge to all commercial and sport fishing. The closure took effect at midnight Sunday, August 27.

The fall run of chinook salmon on the Klamath -- once renowned for both salmon and steelhead fishing -- has fallen far below last year's levels and State and Federal biologists have expressed fear that unless the later weeks of the run improve sharply, the future of salmon in the river is in danger.

Some disorder on the river accompanied the "fish-in," as U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agents confronted Indian demonstrators, but situation was reported quiet as of Thursday and Friday.

State and Federal officials Thursday announced formation of a five member observer team, representing involved interests to watch the situation closely, advice on any necessary adjustments of the fishing closure and work to ensure strict and fair enforcement of the closure.