Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office
Federal Subsistence Fisheries Management on the Yukon River
Importance of the subsistence fishery
Salmon returning to the Yukon River and its tributaries have been a vital food source for Native Alaskans in northern Alaska for thousands of years. Today, this river continues to support a subsistence fishery that provides cultural, spiritual and economic sustenance to more than 1,500 households in over 60 communities.
Managing Fisheries for Subsistence Use
Understanding the critical importance of Alaska’s fisheries to subsistence users, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980, contains language requiring that natural and healthy fish populations be maintained for subsistence use by rural Alaskan residents.
Under ANILCA, the federal government began managing subsistence hunting and trapping on federal lands in 1990. The Federal Subsistence Management Program expanded to include fisheries on Federal Conservation System Units in October, 1999. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was designated the lead federal agency for management of subsistence fisheries on the Yukon River, along with participation by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Forest Service.
Information on salmon returns collected from fishery monitoring projects help federal and state fisheries managers monitor salmon escapement, and determine subsistence and commercial fishing periods throughout the season.
Service biologists, Refuge Information Technicians, and contract employees work with rural residents to monitor the in-season harvest of salmon and determine if subsistence needs are being met in Yukon River communities.
In 2001, the Yukon River Salmon Agreement was finalized after 16 years of negotiations between the U.S. and Canada. This agreement established a long-term commitment in the conservation and allocation of Canadian-origin, Yukon River Chinook salmon (which make up approximately 50% of the total Yukon River run). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been involved in these negotiations since 1985; we now partner with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to ensure that Federal commitments with Canada are met.
The Yukon River Panel was established to provide recommendations to fisheries managers on how to set and adjust annual salmon spawning escapement objectives, based on pre-season projections, current stock status assessment, and recommendations from the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) which is a technical advisory body to the Panel. Subsequently, state and federal managers strive to meet established management objectives that are requested from the Panel. Our Subsistence Fisheries Branch is directly involved with both the Panel (comprised of delegates from the U.S. and Canada) and the JTC (comprised of U.S. and Canadian fishery biologists and managers). The U.S. Federal delegates to the Panel and the JTC are from the Subsistence Fisheries Branch as well as the Federal delegate to the Yukon Panel’s Restoration and Enhancement fund review committee.
Yukon River Treaty Project Implementation
The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 7 intends to award a single source Grant Agreement as authorized by 505 DM 2.14 (B) to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This notice is not a request for proposals and the Government does not intend to accept proposals. Award will be made 15 days after this notice.
Last updated: February 25, 2014