This program was formerly funded by the Yukon River Panel and managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The project as proposed will now be lead by a local Whitehorse consultant. The consultant will serve as the Salmon Stewardship Coordinator, and the program will place Salmon Stewards in Yukon communities to assist teachers with the delivery of DFO’s Stream to Sea program to all interested Yukon Schools and learning centres. The Coordinator will work closely with the Salmon Stewards to provide support to teachers in Yukon River salmon education activities, including aquarium incubation set-up, operation and maintenance; salmon ecology and biology; and/or participate in egg takes that can be facilitated near community schools. These hands on activities with youth have been identified as key near term Stewardship priority, and over the duration of the project, the coordinators will be responsible for continuing to build capacity within the schools and seek support from key community members to allow for the continuation of the Stream to Sea program.
CRE-02-18 Salmon Stewardship Coordinators for Yuko...
The project goal is to conduct public outreach to an adult audience of active Yukon River fishers to build a more aware public constituency that is motivated to maintain and protect salmon stocks of Canadian origin. Over the past ten years the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association (YRDFA) has hosted a one-day meeting to discuss pre-season planning for the management of declining Canadian origin Chinook salmon, fall chum and other important issues related to the upcoming fishing season. Meeting attendees include Tribal Council representatives, state and federal fisheries management agencies and other Yukon River fishery stakeholders. The meetings are a necessary annual event convening stakeholders, representing a majority of Yukon River fishing communities along the Alaskan portion of the Yukon River, with Alaskan agency fishery managers to discuss how to protect Canadian origin Chinook and fall chum salmon and meet other management goals.
This project has demonstrated that outreach through face-to-face meetings with the Yukon River public has led to increased community partnership with fisheries managers in their management efforts to conserve Canadian origin Chinook salmon.
This project, which has been running at this site since 2005 and funded by the Restoration and Enhancement Fund since 2011, operates a sonar station on the Big Salmon River using a long range dual frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) to enumerate the Chinook salmon escapement each year, and conducts spawning ground sampling to obtain biological information on the stock. The goal of the project is to provide a long term dataset for inter-annual stock strength, run timing, ASL composition, and annual escapement estimates (for the Big Salmon and the Yukon Rivers) in addition to verifying the accuracy of the genetic proportions from Eagle.
Blind Creek is a significant Chinook salmon spawning stream flowing into the Pelly River, approximately 10 km southeast of the Town of Faro. Since 1995, a weir has been operated here annually (with the exception of 2001 and 2002) to enumerate Chinook salmon returns. Each season, a weir is installed and operated at the same location to enumerate Chinook salmon escapement and to conduct live sampling to obtain biological information from the stock. The weir project also provides a salmon viewing opportunity and on-site interpretation of the salmon resource and management programs for local residents and visitors. The goals of the project are: a) to provide a long term data set of information on a Chinook spawning population in the proposed Pelly River Conservation Unit and b) to increase public awareness of salmon management programs and conservation. This project will build on the information obtained from the 2003 to 2015 Blind Creek weir projects.
CRE-37-18. 2018 Blind Creek Chinook Salmon Enumera...
This project, which has been running since 2002, describes the stock composition of chum and Chinook salmon returning up the Yukon River to Canada. It estimates what proportion of these fish return to each of the genetically-identifiable stocks (by natal stream). Though monitoring of the aggregate is practical and the basis for much of the management, it is equally important to understand status and trends at the population level. Given the size of the Yukon River watershed and the climatic variation found within it, salmon populations within the watershed may experience significant differences.
The effectiveness of this project is closely tied to the development and refinement of the genetic baseline and the number of samples obtained from the Eagle Sonar Site. As more genetic samples are collected and analyzed from Eagle, the sampling error decreases and the estimates of stock compositions are made more reliable. There are two principal uses of the GSI information collected. The first is in assessing how genetic information compares to traditional stock assessment information. Fishery managers often rely on index stocks to understand both status and trends in particular populations or stocks, and for Yukon River salmon, many terminal escapement assessments are carried out each year (e.g., using sonars, aerial surveys, and counting weirs), which can be costly and logistically challenging, and typically assess only one population at a time. When combined with sonar counts, genetic proportion estimates can be expanded to provide escapement estimates for particular populations. The second is that the information in aggregate can be used to estimate the productivity of each population of Canadian-origin salmon. This type of information is critical to local management planning and is of great interest to First Nation governments and communities as they seek greater information on the fish that return to their traditional territory. Projects focused on stock restoration also need to understand which stocks are currently highly productive and which are not.
CRE-79-17 Genetic Stock Identification of Canadian...
First Fish Camp is hosted by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in for youth and families. It is a way for people to learn about the heritage and traditions of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, as well as the importance of the river and modern day environmental pressures on this important part of the culture. It is an opportunity for the community to have fellowship with one another; families, youth and Elders.
An educational exchange is a powerful, intensive approach to transferring knowledge and transforming perceptions. Participants have the opportunity to witness, question, and interact with the subject matter first hand, which can foster much deeper understanding than other forms of communication typically provide. As such, the Yukon River Educational Exchange Program is a sound way for fishers and other fisheries stakeholders from the U.S. and Canada to come together to learn about the international agreement, to appreciate the different salmon resource users, and to increase awareness of fishery-related issues.
U.S. and Canadian users of the salmon resource are participants in a world of interdependence. Understanding differences in culture, lifestyle, and opinion proves to strengthen one’s ability to think and act on a cooperative basis. Therefore, a key priority of this project is to enhance contact between upriver and downriver fishers, as one becomes the exchange participant and the other the host community member.
Participants in the Yukon River Educational Exchange are challenged to learn by pursuing issues of interest and concern, to research through observation and personal experience, and to document their experience for further transfer of knowledge with their home communities. The exchange also takes advantage of the participants’ differences in age, motivation, cultural background, and past fisheries experience. The most effective exchange experience requires participants be immersed in the host community to develop and nurture a holistic and mutual view of life on the Yukon River.
CC-02-19. Salmon Know No Borders Ed Ex Report 2019
Salmon migrating up the Porcupine River through the Traditional Territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) are culturally important to VGFN citizens. Old Crow, the only Canadian community on the Porcupine River, relies on the salmon fishery as a source of traditional food. The subsistence harvest of salmon on the Porcupine River is an important component of local people’s diets.
Three salmon species spawn in the Canadian portion of the Porcupine River: Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), chum (Oncorhynchus keta) and coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Chinook and chum salmon are managed jointly through the Yukon River Panel’s Joint Technical Committee (JTC) process; there is currently no joint management process for coho salmon. The Yukon River Panel was established to manage “transboundary” salmon stocks (which move through waters subject to both U.S. and Canadian fisheries management processes) in a cooperative forum.
This project focused on the chum salmon run, which passes Old Crow in late summer. A former DFO enumeration weir on the Fishing Branch River (a tributary to the Porcupine River) historically recorded annual passage rates between approximately 5,057 and 186,000 fall chum, with an average annual return of approximately 44,000 (during the period of 1998 to 2011; JTC 2012). Genetic sampling of fall chum salmon at the Pilot Station sonar (in Alaska) provides broad scale information on the chum run in the entire Yukon River; since 1995 fall chum salmon counted at the Fishing Branch River weir have accounted for 4% of the total Yukon River fall chum salmon run (JTC 2012)
The Vuntut Gwitch’in Government (VGG) is committed to improving in-season enumeration and management capacity for fall chum salmon in the Porcupine River. In order to provide an accurate and timely in-season estimate of adult fall chum salmon passage at Old Crow, VGG has pursued the development of a sonar enumeration program. The goals of this program were to:
Enumerate passing fall chum salmon;
Conduct test netting (using drift nets) to apportion the sonar counts;
Develop local capacity to conduct fisheries work within the community of Old Crow.
Monitoring of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) passage in the middle Yukon River began in 1999 at Rampart Rapids 730 miles upstream from the Yukon River mouth. Before this time, there were no U.S. run assessment projects for mainstem Yukon River Chinook salmon above Pilot Station, 122 miles from the mouth to the U.S./Canada Border. This unmonitored area covered over 1,000 miles. Numerous subsistence and commercial fishermen harvest salmon along this section of river. In 1999 daily subsistence fish wheel Chinook salmon catch–per-unit-effort (CPUE) was supplied to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) by satellite phone from the Rapids. Chum salmon (O. keta) monitoring began in 1996 with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of a mark-recapture project. From 2000 to present, daily catch rates of Chinook and chum salmon, sheefish (Stenodus leucichthys), humpback whitefish (Coregonus pidschian), broad whitefish (C. nasus), and cisco species (C. laurettae and C. sardinella) were reported. Data on Chinook salmon and the numerous other fish species that are important subsistence resources caught at Rapids will help build a long-term population trend database that will increase in value as the project continues. The Restoration and Enhancement Fund directed by the Yukon River Panel has been the major source of funding for this project over the years.
The project site at the Rapids has probably been a subsistence fish wheel site since fish wheels came to the Yukon around 1900. The particular bend in the river where this site is located has always been well known for its ability to consistently produce good catches of fish, Chinook as well as chum salmon, whether the water was high or low. Because of the unique currents in the Rapids, fish wheels are capable of being run there even during the spring drift that happens at the same time as the Chinook salmon run. Traditionally, people would travel to the Rapids area to spend their summers because of these qualities. Even today it is one of the most densely populated active fish camp areas on the Yukon River.
Video source: YouTube (Stan Zuray)
Fish wheels are a common capture method for management and research activities in the Yukon River drainage. Specifically, fish wheels have provided CPUE data at various locations to fishery managers. Also, fish wheels are used to capture and hold fish for tagging studies. Most of these fish wheels use live boxes to hold fish until the researchers or contractors process and release them, and crowding and holding times greater than four hours is common. A growing body of data suggests delayed mortality and reduced traveling rates are associated with holding, crowding, and/or repeated re-capture (Bromaghin and Underwood 2003, 2004; Bromaghin et al. 2004; Underwood et al. 2004). The video capture techniques developed and used by this project have less of an impact when counting fish.
The Yukon River system encompasses a drainage area of approximately 854,000 km2 and contributes to important aboriginal, subsistence and commercial fisheries in the U.S. and Canada. Approximately 50% of Chinook salmon entering the Yukon River from the Bering Sea is typically destined for spawning grounds in Canada (Eiler et al. 2004, 2006). Chinook salmon that spawn in Canada have contributed up to 67% of the total U.S. commercial and subsistence fisheries in the Yukon River system (Templin et al. 2005; cited in Daum and Flannery 2009) .
Canadian and U.S. fishery managers of the Yukon River Joint Technical Committee (JTC) as well as members of the Yukon River Panel (YRP) recognize that obtaining accurate estimates of abundance is required for the management of Yukon River Chinook stocks. Quantified Chinook escapements along with biological information are important for post-season run reconstruction, pre-season run forecasts and the establishment of biologically based escapement goals. In addition, the accurate enumeration of genetically distinct stocks, coupled with a representative genetic stock identification (GSI) sampling program can be used to obtain independent above border as well as stock specific Chinook escapement estimates1 .
The Teslin River system has been identified as a potential Conservation Unit under the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Wild Salmon Policy (DFO 2007). One of the long term goals of the Wild Salmon Policy is the establishment of biologically based escapement goals for all species of salmon within designated conservation units. A sufficiently long time series data set of salmon escapements coupled with stock recruitment modelling is the primary method for the establishment of biologically based escapement goals. Currently, there is no other in-season monitoring specific to Teslin River Chinook. Based on current data the Teslin system is the largest single tributary contributor to upper Yukon River Chinook production.
Teslin River origin Chinook have been an important contributor to aboriginal fisheries in the upper Yukon watershed and are of particular importance to the Teslin Tlingit First Nation. Monitoring of Teslin River Chinook will assist in achieving long term management and escapement objectives for the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC). Of the five species of salmon entering the Yukon River, adult Chinook salmon travel the farthest upstream and have been documented at the furthest headwaters of the Teslin system in the McNeil River, 3,300 km from the river mouth (Mercer & Eiler 2004).
CRE-01-15 Mainstem Teslin River sonar project - 2...