Whitehorse Daily Star

Chinook salmon forecast still uncertain

It will be another week or so before management officials are able to provide a forecast of how strong the run of chinook salmon will be into the Yukon.

By Chuck Tobin on July 17, 2017

It will be another week or so before management officials are able to provide a forecast of how strong the run of chinook salmon will be into the Yukon.

Fishery manager Mary Ellen Jarvis of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans acknowledged this morning the information coming out of Alaska is indicating the strongest run in 12 years.

Until there is a much larger portion of the run past the sonar counter just below the Yukon-Alaska border at Eagle, Alaska, she said, it’s difficult to predict the strength of the run into the Yukon with any great degree of confidence.

“There is not enough information to do a forecast right now,” she said. “It’s too early.”

Jarvis said the management plan is still calling for a precautionary approach to the aboriginal food fishery until there is a better idea of what is coming across the border.

As a rule of thumb, fish managers on both sides of the border estimate that 50 per cent of the chinook salmon that enter the river for the annual migration are of Yukon origin.

While the count at the Pilot Station sonar near the mouth was at 258,652 chinook as of midnight last night, Jarvis said, there are uncertainties that must be taken into consideration.

Alaska, for instance, has liberalized restrictions on its subsistence fishery this year because of the strength of the run, Jarvis pointed out.

She also emphasized that First Nations have implemented conservative management plans in attempts to rebuild the chinook stocks that have declined significantly since the 1990s and early 2000s.

As of midnight, the Eagle sonar had recorded 19,797 chinook, of which 3,008 were counted Sunday.

The peak of the run at the mouth occurred on June 21, when the Pilot Station sonar recorded 25,702 chinook. It counted 271 Sunday, as the run of chinook at the mouth is all but over.

There has been no allowance for commercial fishing on either side of the border in recent years because of the diminished runs.

Meanwhile, staff at the Whitehorse fish ladder are gearing up for the upcoming return of chinook.

Last year, the first two chinook, a male and a female, went up the ladder on July 23.

Comments (7)

Up 2 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Jul 23, 2017 at 6:57 pm

To be clear, my complaint against the substance fishers is how they use what they catch, it is not necessarily to put food on the table, but rather it is being used as a way to extend their paychecks because they use the endangered salmon they catch for fertilizer in their gardens by burying whole fish in the dirt, or to feed their vast collection of sled dogs so they do not have to buy dog food. I see blatant waste and species destruction in the name of eking out a living in the wilderness. Create some proper policies for being subsistence fishers and enforce the rule. Too many fish are being wasted rather than breeding for future generations.

Up 3 Down 1

A real fisherperson on Jul 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

Hey Snubsistience so called fishing, it sounds like you are really fishing, for dirt that is. You don't know squat about what happened there. You don't understand or appreciate the underlying issues and kind of sound like the stolly who is some sort of person with a little fn blood that is jealous and envious.

Up 5 Down 2

Subsistence Fishing on Jul 22, 2017 at 8:10 am

And how about making sure those claiming subsistence fishing don't have government jobs or other equally lucrative activities going on? Remember that woman in Dawson charged a few years back with selling her fish caught under subsistence rights? Her husband has a mid-level management job at YG and she works for her First Nation. They live in FN housing at minimum rent levels. How is it they are allowed to fish under subsistence rights? It's people like that who bring shame to their people. Greed at its worst.

Up 4 Down 9

john henry on Jul 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm

The gov. is so full of it. Lots of rain means lots of fish, plenty for everyone who likes to eat salmon. Also nice to have on a cold winter night.

Up 19 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Jul 20, 2017 at 11:01 am

Shut down the fishery for ALL harvesters for two years - especially the subsistence abusers in Alaska. The salmon stocks will not improve until there are many more breeders returning to the streams. Kudos to the Taan first nation for their reintroduction project at Lake Laberge - we need more of these projects along the Yukon River drainage.

Up 13 Down 2

stu nanson on Jul 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm

So, we get what might be a better run and then say it's time to harvest a little more aggressively.

Hopefully rebuilding will proceed despite the apparent desire to harvest and harvest.

Up 8 Down 18

Josey Wales on Jul 18, 2017 at 7:50 am

I will speculate, no fishing for whitey and the rest of the melanoma spectrum.
Only the cultural elite, Justine's children.... will be doing so.
I remember the absolute wails of injustice when voting was an issue.
Guess it is more important to be able to vote...than eat.
Who knew?

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