Yukon River salmon numbers continue to dwindle
First Chinook salmon of the year arrive at Whitehorse
The first Chinook salmon of the year have arrived in Whitehorse, but fisheries authorities are predicting there won't be very many.
The latest projections suggest this year’s Yukon River run may be the lowest on record.
The fishery is still open strictly for First Nations fishing but authorities have recommended there be no harvest, and say they may yet impose a complete closure on the Yukon River.
They're forecasting just 30,000 Chinook salmon making it into Canadian waters this year. That's 10,000 below the minimum promised under a US-Canada fisheries agreement.
The Yukon River Salmon Subcommittee says dwindling salmon populations on the Yukon River are worth fighting to protect.
After 15 years of decreasing salmon numbers and increasing fishing restrictions Subcommitee Executive Director Dennis Zimmermann is worried Yukoners are giving up.
"Really there's not much more we can do on the Canadian side," he said.
"It is really important that we keep the Yukon public engaged in this fishery because if the Yukon public doesn't continue to participate in this resource we are going to forget about it and then it will be just a dwindling resource that will continue to disappear."
Zimmermann said recent meetings with Alaskan officials show people on both sides of the border are getting past the "blame game."
He said both Alaskans and Yukoners are willing to take the tough conservation measures required to protect the salmon from overfishing until more sustainable populations can be established.