Monday March 6, 2023


The Yukon River’s chum salmon runs have returned at record lows over the last three years. At a recent meeting, the Alaska Board of Fisheries debated a contentious proposal that would have reduced fishing time for a controversial and lucrative fishery along the Alaska Peninsula, called Area M.

Area M is a mixed-stock “intercept” fishery that targets salmon further from their spawning grounds than terminal fisheries like Bristol Bay.

Proposal 140 was meant to limit the amount of chum caught in Area M’s South Peninsula fishery in June to allow more chum to return to Western Alaska rivers. The board ended up passing some restrictions on the fishery, but it’s far short of what residents faced with low chum runs were hoping for. And communities that depend on the Area M fishery say they aren’t satisfied either.

People from across Western Alaska testified in support of limiting fishing time in Area M, saying they haven’t been able to feed their families or continue traditions since the chum runs collapsed in 2020.

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