Alaskans hitting endangered Canadian salmon hard
TERRACE – Fisheries in Southeast Alaska have harvested well over a quarter million sockeye salmon, most of which were headed for Canadian rivers. The new Pacific Salmon Treaty between the United States and Canada contains no mechanisms to hold Alaska accountable for their impacts on at-risk sockeye salmon swimming home to spawn in British Columbia.
Most sockeye salmon populations on the West Coast of Canada have been severely depressed in recent years. This year, Canada’s two largest salmon-producing river systems – the Fraser and Skeena – are experiencing historically low sockeye salmon returns. “Canadian commercial and recreational fisheries have been closed and Indigenous people are unable to get food fish,“ said Greg Taylor, Fisheries Advisor to Watershed Watch Salmon Society and SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.
North of the border, in Alaska, commercial fisheries remain open, intercepting large numbers of Canadian-bound sockeye and other salmon. “ The newly renegotiated Pacific Salmon Treaty does not apply to seine fisheries in Southeast Alaska after the last week of July, meaning Alaska can take what it wants with no accountability to its neighbours, or the health of the fish”, stated Greg Knox, Executive Director of SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.
“Global warming is hitting our salmon hard and Alaska is making this situation worse.” said Greg Knox. “Alaska’s constitution requires that conservation targets for their salmon populations are met before harvesting is allowed. It is irresponsible and unethical for Alaska to knowingly ignore these principles when it comes to Canada’s salmon.”
Warmer ocean conditions in the North Pacific are decreasing food available to salmon.
Warmer, dryer conditions in British Columbia are adding further pressures to the rivers and lakes our salmon use when they are young and when they return as adults to spawn.
Greg Taylor – 604 970 0277
Greg Knox – 250 615 1990