This Comment explores the shellfish issue in light of the Stevens Treaties and their historical context, the rules of treaty interpretation, the relevant treaty fishing cases, and the recent court decisions on the shellfish issue. Part II.A explores the magnitude of the debate, the historical background of the case, and identifies the parties involved and their diverging interests. Part II.B describes the traditional methods and rules of treaty interpretation and recognizes their application in this case. Part II.C examines the treaty fishing cases that established much of the precedent that governed the shellfish case. Part II.D outlines the relevant holdings of the district and circuit courts in the shellfish case. Part III.A scrutinizes the courts' holdings in the case, finds that the courts' analyses were cursory and subjective, and concludes that the courts should have considered alternative resolutions that would have offered enhanced protection of the interests of all parties without violating prior case law. Finally, Part III.B concludes the discussion with a solution that could have better served all of the parties while remaining consistent with the law of the case.
Jason W. Anderson, The World Is Their Oyster? Interpreting the Scope of Native American Off-Reservation Shellfish Rights in Washington State, 23 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 145 (1999).