Poor chum numbers recorded on Yukon

A returning Chum Salmon at the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery. (K. King/USFWS)

Subsistence fishing openings in the lower Yukon River are being cut in half to help more fall chum salmon swim into Canada. 

The pre-season projection was for a run size of less than 450,000 fish. That’s not enough to meet the escapement goals or the treaty objectives between Canada and the U.S. for management of the Yukon River salmon runs. Significantly absent this summer are the four-year-old fish. Biologists say that means that the overall return is expected to be much lower than the weak run originally projected. This summer’s poor chum runs are part of a trend throughout Western Alaska.

The subsistence periods in districts 1,2, and 3 in the lower Yukon River have been reduced to two 18-hour periods a week with 7.5 inch or smaller gillnets. To get the specifics of the opening and closing times on the lower Yukon River, call (866) 479-7387.

Johanna Eurich is a contributor for the Alaska Public Radio Network.

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