A lack of chum salmon is causing pain in riverside communities of Yukon and Alaska, as mushers are left without a traditional source of food.
Usually Aug. 7 is the midpoint of the coho run, but this year it was not until Aug. 8 that numbers at the Bethel test fishery increased, and then only modestly.
Numbers from Fishing Branch, a tributary of the Porcupine River, fell below management and treaty goals, experts from Alaska and the Yukon said at the Yukon River Panel’s meeting in Whitehorse earlier this month.
About 189,000 fall chum had entered the Yukon River as of Sept. 7. At least 300,000 fish must enter the river before either Alaska or Yukon fishers can begin harvesting.
The Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee is recommending the complete cessation of fishing for Chinook salmon this year on the Yukon River.