Canada and U.S. suspend all fishing for Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook salmon

Canada and the United States are suspending all fishing for Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook salmon for seven years in an attempt to protect the dwindling species.

The agreement covers the length of one life cycle of the fish and recognizes that the “persistent decline of Chinook salmon” has led to an inability to meet conservation objectives in both countries.

A statement from Fisheries and Oceans Canada says since the 1980s the Chinook population has declined to less than 10 per cent of its historical average of 150,000 adult salmon originating from the Canadian portion of the watershed.

The agreement covers all commercial, recreational and domestic fishing and runs from April 2024 through 2030 with a goal of rebuilding the population to 71,000 Canadian-origin Chinook salmon.

The governments have agreed to work on habitat and stock restoration activities and support research to better understand the decline of Chinook salmon.

The statement says the commitment is necessary to support the long-term recovery and rebuilding of Chinook in the Yukon River.

“Chinook salmon are integral to the environment, culture and fabric of Yukon and interior/western Alaska,” Minister of Fisheries, Oceans Diane Lebouthillier said in the statement.

“Undertaking international action through cooperative measures in both Canada and the United States is necessary to ensure we are all working together to protect and restore this essential species for future generations.”