"The promising chinook salmon numbers Alaska reported earlier this summer have not materialized in Yukon rivers, some First Nations are reporting — in fact, based on preliminary counts, some rivers have only seen 20 per cent of last year’s chinook run. “According to the preseason estimates on the Yukon (River), it looked very good … (but) the numbers didn’t show up as we expected,” Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s natural resources director William Josie said.
According to data provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Porcupine River sonar station had counted about 1,130 chinook salmon as of last week. The same time last year, the sonar had already counted more than 5,600 salmon, and in 2015, about 4,440.
Josie attributes the diminished return to a six-week spell of hot weather earlier this summer, which lowered water levels while raising water surface temperatures. Several studies have shown that water temperatures of 21 C or higher discourage chinook from migrating and could lead to death. “Chinook salmon were dying in the river (and based on) observations from sonar crew and fishermen, chinooks were just hanging out in deeper portions of the river, just swimming back and forth,” Josie said. “They were just sticking to deep water during that hot period.” VGFN fish camps did manage to harvest about 150 fish, Josie added — a lot lower than historical harvests — but cut back once they noticed that the chinook were under stress from the water conditions.
According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun also reported low water levels and poor fishing in spots that are usually more fruitful.
Meanwhile, along the Pelly River, water levels are higher than usual, but the chinook turnout is also “a lot lower than expected,” said Selkirk First Nation’s Eugene Alfred, who’s in charge of the First Nation’s chinook management plan..." #chinook #salmon #alaska #yukon #anchorage #juneau #culture #firstnations #Indigenous #rivers #britishcolumbia #awareness #salmonfishing #tradition #fish #diet #fishing #heat #water #summer #decolonize #canada150 #resistance150 #low #sustainable #vancouver #water #drought