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Yukon River Salmon Agreement

The Yukon Salmon Subcommittee is a 10-member advisory body appointed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board appointed a representative of Yukon First Nations and a government agent to the subcommittee. The Minister appoints two other members, two members are designated by the Yukon River Basin, two from the Alsek River Basin and two from the Porcupine River Basin. All members are appointed to the subcommittee for five years. The Yukon Salmon Subcommittee is a forum for public participation in all aspects of salmon stock management and fisheries. Since the beginning of this century, salmon listening has been the subject of discussions between the two countries. Over the years, studies conducted by both countries have shown that Alaskan fishermen fish for salmon destined for British Columbia, Oregon and Washington; Canadian fishermen have conquered Coho, Chinook and other species related to the Washington and Oregon rivers; Fishermen in northern British Columbia intercepted salmon returning to Alaska, and U.S. fishermen caught salmon as they travelled through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands towards the Canadian Fraser River. The Yukon River Salmon Agreement outlines measures to ensure the sustainability of Yukon River salmon stocks and fishing in Canada through conservation, management practices, stockpiling, crop sharing, research and habitat protection.

In the end, the agreement was reached by the people who depend on and manage these salmon fisheries. The negotiations were successful because Yukon River residents got engaged and worked hard to preserve the salmon stocks and fishing they needed to live on the Yukon River. If there is no common agreement on the management and protection of nature, one nation can harvest too many stocks from the other country and thwart its country of origin`s management plans. Uncontrolled listening can also jeopardize the administrative and financial assistance needed for salmon improvement programmes: the country of origin may be reluctant to invest in hatcheries or habitat protection and restoration when fish produced are caught by fishermen from another nation. Interception of fishing promotes over-harvesting and discourages investment in conservation and improvement. To ensure the conservation and coordinated management of Salmon Stocks on the Canadian Yukon River, the 12-member Yukon River Panel meets twice a year, before the season and after the season, to make recommendations to the appropriate authorities on both sides of the Alaska-Yukon border.


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