New Pacific Salmon Treaty cuts chinook catch

Published on
January 7, 2019

The new Pacific Salmon Treaty went into effect on the first of the year after the treaty’s last 10-year iteration expired on its own terms on 31 December. 

The Pacific Salmon Treaty is renegotiated every decade between the United States and Canada to govern salmon catch, research, and enhancement in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game made public last week the sections of the treaty that will directly affect Alaskan salmon fisheries, which deal with Transboundary Rivers, Northern British Columbia and Southeastern Alaska, and Chinook salmon. 

In an attempt to battle a dramatic multi-year drop in Chinook stocks off of the Pacific coast, the countries agreed to cut their catch of Chinook salmon, with a reduction of up to 12.5 percent in Canada and up to 7.5 percent in the United States. 

Some in the industry are not pleased with the new treaty. 

“It is disappointing that our state did not recover the 15 percent harvest share from the 2009 agreement and agreed to further reduce Alaska’s proportional share of the catch, even when stocks rebounded,” Executive Director of the Alaska Trollers Association (ATA) Amy Daugherty said.

Daugherty added that the ATA believes that Chinook stocks are at the bottom of a recurring cycle and will rebound in coming years, as they have done in the past. 

Among the negotiators of the treaty were 58 Alaskans, many of whom serve in the Department of Fish and Wildlife. At this point, no part of the treaty is open to renegotiation. 

Doug Vincent-Lang, acting commissioner of the Alaskan Department of Fish and Wildlife said that in the coming months the department would be releasing its 2019 forecast and management regime for fisheries in the state’s Southeast region. 

Sections of the treaty pertaining to Alaska can be read on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

Reporting from Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

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