The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) announced last Friday the immediate closures of two subsistence fisheries for the remainder of the 2020 season.
• all salmon species at Village Creek (Neskataheen); and
• chinook salmon in all tributaries of the Yukon River within the CAFN traditional territory, including the Takhini River.
“We are concerned about declining salmon stocks and the impact on our ability to engage in traditional harvesting, cultural practices, seasonal gathering, and ability to eat our traditional foods,” said Dän Nätthe Äda (acting chief) Rose Kushniruk.
“Our government and citizens recognize that immediate action is required to protect the salmon, and we will continue to work with our dän (people) toward the recovery of the salmon population.”
Due to ongoing concerns over low returns of gyü (Chinook) and sambay (Sockeye) salmon, the CAFN is closing the fishery at Village Creek, which is part of the Alsek and Tatshenshini River system.
This is the third year that CAFN citizens have passed general assembly resolutions asking the CAFN government to close fishing in the (Neskataheen) Village Creek area.
The CAFN government and dän (people) will continue to work with other governments and people on plans to rebuild and protect the salmon for future generations.
As of Aug. 11, Fisheries and Oceans Canada reported that 40 sockeye salmon had reached Village Creek to spawn.
The run is far below normal, as an average of 584 sockeye would usually have reached Village Creek by now.
The CAFN supports the Yukon-Salmon Sub-Committee’s call for immediate action to conserve the chinook salmon in the Yukon River and its tributaries, so is also closing chinook fishing on all Yukon River tributaries in the CAFN’s traditional territory.
The salmon sub-committee was formed under the CAFN’s Final Agreement and includes representatives of the First Nation.
The emergency closures are for conservation purposes for the duration of the 2020 season.
These fisheries are also closed to visitors, and the CAFN will not issue any visitor licences for these areas.