Alaska, Canadian Officials Sign Agreement Aimed at Yukon Chinook Salmon Recovery

Jim Stearns, executive director of Salmonfest, during the 2019 festival on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Photo by Margaret Bauman.
Image: Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) officials said April 1, that they have signed an agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) regarding recovery of Chinook salmon in the Yukon River drainage.

The agreement is focused on rebuilding those stocks to a level that they can once again provide for subsistence, sport, commercial and personal use fishing opportunities.

The agreement implements a suspension of directed Chinook salmon commercial, sport, domestic and personal use fisheries in the mainstem Yukon River and Canadian tributaries for one full life cycle, a total of seven years.

“After hearing from people living along the river, it is time to look beyond single year management,” ADF&G Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said. “This agreement looks to rebuild over a life cycle of the Chinook salmon, seven years.”

The agreement allows Alaska and Canada, at their discretion, to provide limited harvest opportunity during the rebuilding period, for ceremonial use and transmission of cultural knowledge.

Image: Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The agreement calls for Alaska to minimize incidental harvest of Chinook salmon in all other mainstem Yukon River fisheries during the rebuilding period, and places a priority on traditional and local ecological knowledge research on the health of Yukon River Chinook salmon.

It also directs the Yukon Panel, stakeholders who live along the river, to develop a recovery plan to guide recover of the stocks.

Lastly, the agreement calls for further efforts to address long-term cumulative effects of other factors, including habitat degradation resulting from resource and hydroelectric development, competition from hatchery production, cyclic natural phenomena and large-scale environmental variability affecting both marine and freshwater habitats.

The agreement can be seen online at