FAIRBANKS — A dire Yukon River king salmon forecast that could bottom out below last year’s low returns has some rural Alaska residents calling for a moratorium on subsistence fishing for the species.
“These fish are not going to be here forever, not the way we’re catching them,” Orville Huntington said Tuesday during a pre-season planning meeting with fisheries managers from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “It wouldn’t hurt to take a few years off and say, ‘Let them go.’ There are other fish out there.”
Huntington lives on the Koyukuk River, a tributary of the Yukon. He works as director of wildlife and parks for the Tanana Chiefs Conference.
Walter Stickman, of Nulato, read a letter from the Nulato Tribal Council that called for a moratorium.
“We have made sacrifices in past years and our sacrifices seem to have no results on the declining chinook salmon,” Stickman said. “The moratorium may or may not influence the 2015 projected run, but it will unite the rural subsistence fishermen toward a goal, potentially for the common good.”