Friday December 9, 2022

CBC News

The state of Alaska is proposing new research to track dwindling chinook salmon numbers this spring, and it’s possible the study could eventually extend into the Yukon. 

This week, members of the bilateral Yukon River Panel met in Anchorage, Alaska, to brainstorm ways to help the salmon, which undertake one of the longest salmon migrations in the world.

It’s during this migration, though, that tens of thousands of salmon seem to go missing every year. In 2022, only about 11,000 chinook crossed into the Yukon. That number falls sharply below a minimum, internationally agreed-upon threshold of 42,500 fish, a number set more than a decade ago to ensure the salmon stock doesn’t crash.

The research project is a bid to figure out where the salmon could be dying as they swim toward the Yukon.

Zachary Liller, a researcher with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said up to 500 salmon would be radio tagged near the Pilot Sonar Station, located near the mouth of the Yukon River. From there, tracking towers will be set up along the length of the river, up to the U.S.-Canadian border. The towers will be able to pinpoint the precise locations of the salmon. 

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