Ban chinook salmon fishing on Yukon River: fish conservationist
Less than half the usual number of salmon have reached river this year
A total moratorium on chinook salmon fishing on the Yukon River may be necessary to save the fish, said the chairman of the Yukon Salmon Committee.
This year's Yukon River salmon run appears to be in trouble, said Carl Sidney, whose committee is mandated to look after the salmon's welfare. About 32,000 Yukon-bound chinook salmon have reached the mouth of the river to date — less than half the normal numbers, he said.
"My family has gone without salmon for … this is going to be the third year we don't get any," Sidney told CBC News on Wednesday.
While a ban on sport and commercial salmon fishing is likely in the Yukon this year, Sidney said a voluntary moratorium on First Nations subsistence fishing may be needed as well.
"This fish is in so much trouble, you know? I think we should just leave it alone for at least five years," he said.
"We all have to get in this together. … [Otherwise], we may as well just kiss it goodbye."
While Yukon First Nations know that dramatic conservation measures are needed, fisheries managers upstream in Alaska don't seem to be ready to do what it takes to protect the fish, Sidney said.
"We are at the end of the line, and we're the ones that see this fish is in trouble … and they will not listen," he said. "They wouldn't listen, and they kept [their] commercial fishing and their subsistence fishery over there. That's totally out of hand."
Earlier this week, Alaskan officials cut the subsistence fishery in half. Nevertheless, Sidney said, people there are still fishing salmon, even though there are currently not enough fish to meet the minimum number required under a U.S.-Canadian treaty.
- The head of the Yukon Salmon Committee is Carl Sidney, not Richard Sidney, as was originally reported.Jun 25, 2008 11:24 PM CT