More bad news for Yukon chinook

The chinook salmon count on the Yukon River is low again this year. Fewer than 40,000 fish are expected to make it to Canadian portions of the Yukon River this year.

The chinook salmon count on the Yukon River is low again this year.

Fewer than 40,000 fish are expected to make it to Canadian portions of the Yukon River this year.

“There’s some uncertainty still there,” said Jeff Grout, resource manager with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “We’ve got about half of the run through at this point. It looks like it’s about a week and a half late or so.”

That’s less than the 42,500 chinook that the United States is obligated under treaty to allow passage into Canada.

Last year saw a dismal run, with an estimated 34,656 fish making it to the border.

The figure 42,500 is the escapement goal, meaning the number of fish that cross the border and escape harvest in Canadian waters.

So in fact, the Americans are obligated to ensure that more chinook get to the border than that, in order to allow for an aboriginal harvest.

A full First Nation harvest on this side of the border is estimated at 8,000 fish.

Last year First Nations voluntarily held back to allow more chinook to get to their spawning streams.

Their harvest for 2012 is estimated at 2,000 fish.

In years where between 30,000 and 51,000 chinook are expected to make it through the border, all harvesting is shut down except for the aboriginal harvest.

Catch and release is permitted except, on occasion, in areas where allowing the activity could lead to potential conflicts with First Nations harvesters.

If the numbers were to fall below 30,000, the aboriginal fishery could be shut down altogether, but this has never happened.

On the U.S. side of the border, the secretary of commerce declared the 2012 Yukon chinook run to be an emergency.

There, management actions have been taken to prevent subsistence harvesting on the early pulses of fish entering the river, since most of those salmon are headed for Canadian waters.

Also, measures have been taken to limit the chinook bycatch in fisheries targeting chum salmon.

This year, pre-season estimates predicted that between 49,000 and 71,000 chinook would make it into Canada.

Models have been over predicting salmon returns since at least 2007, and as a result predictions have been adjusted downward.

But apparently not far enough.

This year, again, the actual numbers are expected to fall below the low range of the adjusted pre-season estimates.

The Yukon River Panel is responsible for keeping track of salmon in the river and developing management goals and programs.

The international group hosts weekly teleconferences through the summer months to co-ordinate information between fisheries managers and harvesters.

The calls take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays from June into September.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

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

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read