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Alaska and Canada agree to moratorium on Yukon chinook salmon fishing

A fish wheel sits up on the bank of the Yukon River in Galena.
Emily Schwing
A fish wheel sits up on the bank of the Yukon River in Galena.

Alaska and Canada have agreed to a seven-year moratorium on Yukon River chinook salmon fishing.

According to a release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the in-river closure for one full king salmon life cycle is outlined in an agreement signed April 1 by the state agency and its Canadian counterpart. It halts the harvest of kings on the mainstem of the Yukon, as well as Canadian tributaries, in an attempt to recover the long-depressed stocks.

The agreement sets a 71,000 Canadian-origin chinook annual border passage target, and allows for consideration of limited subsistence harvest if the target is projected to be reached. It’s been seven years since that many kings crossed the border into Canada, and last year’s passage estimate was under 15,000.

Regardless of run size, the new agreement allows for consideration of limited chinook harvest for ceremonial and cultural purposes.

Another part of the agreement requires development of a Yukon River chinook salmon rebuilding plan.