Watchdogs for the Yukon salmon fishery are calling for a complete ban on harvesting this year.

Forecasts suggest the 2014 Yukon River Chinook run could be the lowest ever.

Chinook salmon

Watchdogs for the Yukon salmon fishery are calling for a complete ban on harvesting this year. (Courtesy Yukon River Panel)

The Yukon Salmon Sub-committee wants Ottawa to set this year’s total allowable catch at zero.

Dennis Zimmerman is the executive director of the salmon advisory committee.

He says counts at Eagle, Alaska, suggest returns will be very low.

The committee is recommending a total ban on fishing in the Yukon — including the Yukon First Nation harvest.

"Our recommendation comes from extensive engagement with First Nations and other groups,” Zimmerman says.

Alaska has already imposed an unprecedented shutdown on its salmon fishery this year.

Zimmerman says for the first time in years, there's a chance they could meet treaty obligations to deliver at least 42,000 salmon to the Canadian spawning grounds.

Zimmerman says the run is extremely early this year so they should know by mid-July how many salmon have crossed the border into Canada.

"Our position right now is a precautionary closure until we know what those numbers really are.”

Zimmerman expects the federal minister for Fisheries and Oceans will implement the committee's recommendation.