Committee calls for chinook fishing ban

The Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee has recommended a full closure on chinook salmon fishing this year as run numbers continue to plummet.

The Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee has recommended a full closure on chinook salmon fishing this year as run numbers continue to plummet.

Managers on both sides of the border are putting in place unprecedented conservation measures in the face of what could be the worst run on record.

“The YSSC doesn’t take this responsibility lightly and understands the sacrifices and hardship that comes from not being able to harvest Yukon River chinook salmon,” said Pauline Frost, the committee’s chair, in a news release.

“We have heard from Yukon First Nations how difficult this will be for the elders and the youth that won’t have chinook salmon hanging in their fish camps. We know that a number of Yukon First Nations have already been conserving and voluntarily restricting their fisheries for some time now. We hope this closure will in the long term ultimately result in a return of chinook salmon to the levels that we have seen in the past.”

The United States is obligated under treaty with Canada to allow 42,500 chinook to cross the border, plus enough for First Nations to take a share of the harvest.

That goal has not been met in five of the past seven years, and again this year it is unlikely the goal will be met.

Early run estimates suggest that between 31,000 and 61,000 Canadian-origin chinook will enter the Yukon River this year, and that the actual number will fall on the low end of that spectrum.

Last year’s run was an estimated 37,915 Canadian-origin fish, of which only 28,669 were estimated to have made it to spawning grounds.

This year, the U.S. government has shut down all targeted chinook salmon harvesting on the Yukon River on its side of the border. That has never been done before.

On the Canadian side, all Yukon River chinook fishing has been shut down in recent years except for the aboriginal harvest, and First Nations have been asked to cut back voluntarily.

If the federal Fisheries and Oceans minister accepts the committee’s recommendation, this year no Yukon River chinook harvest will be permitted at all.

The committee consulted with Yukon First Nations in reaching its recommendation, according to the letter sent to Fisheries Minister Gail Shea last week.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read