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Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission discusses low fish count in upcoming salmon season

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 4:26 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission met on April 26th to discuss low numbers of salmon for the upcoming fishing season.

According to Charlie Wright, a commissioner with Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission, the salmon numbers have been in decline for around 20 years.

According to Wright, there are several factors that can be the cause for the dropping king salmon numbers. Wright explained, “Maybe overfishing in the past has caused a lot of the breeders to go up to Canada and the spawning numbers have gone down continuously over the years. There’s a disease now with climate. Ichthyophonus came in really strong last year, so we don’t know if that’s affecting the spawning ground. The Yukon River is so vast that it’s really hard to put your finger on the problem, so they’re trying in multiple different ways to figure out what’s causing the decline; but we’ve been sacrificing on the river and all the villages for quite a few years now.”

The low fish numbers will affect communities that rely on the salmon for subsistence according to Wright who remarked, “The low salmon numbers are going to impact the villages along the river. It’s going to be very hard because one of their main foods is salmon for the winter. They’re hoping for enough fish to fish on for subsistence for the villages, but we have to wait and see what comes in the river. We don’t know if those problems are in the ocean. Last year a bunch of fish disappeared so we were limited and it could happen again this year. That means some villages will get cut off before they get what they need. So we’re just going to have to play it by ear and see what comes into the river, and just hope and pray that there’s enough for us to have opportunity on.”

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