July 23, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, at the direction of Governor Mike Dunleavy, is coordinating donations of salmon to families in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region following the closure of chinook and chum salmon fishing in the Yukon River due to poor returns. The department is working with Sea Share, Alaska based fishery processors (Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Icicle, Silver Bay Seafoods and Trident Seafoods), Lynden, Northern Air Cargo, Everts, and Alaska Air to fly donated fish to Emmonak and Fairbanks for distribution to villages along the Yukon River. Kwik’pak, the Association of Village Council Presidents, and Tanana Chiefs Conference are also helping with the distribution.
“It is great to see Alaskans work together to help other Alaskans in need,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region rely on good salmon runs as a means to feed their families year-round, and they have undoubtedly felt the impact this year due to poor returns. The donations by the seafood processors, the transportation of the fish by Alaska’s cargo industry, and the coordination of the delivery of the fish to the villages by the various associations demonstrates what can be accomplished when help is needed. I also want to thank Sea Share for their coordination efforts.”
“The closures are necessary to protect and preserve the salmon runs but it has resulted in families not being able to practice their traditions and to catch salmon to put away for the winter,” said Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “This decision was difficult knowing the impact it would have on families along the Yukon River. However, it was necessary to ensure future generations could benefit from these resources.”
“The Department of Fish and Game has also recently opened fishing for pink, sockeye, and coho salmon as well as several non-salmon species using selective gear,” Commissioner Vincent-Lang stated. “We recognize the importance of chinook and chum salmon to the people of the Yukon. While we cannot provide fishing opportunities for these species this year, we hope that these opportunities will help fill people’s freezers.”
Governor Dunleavy has approved the use of additional funds to purchase more fish and asked the Department of Fish and Game to continue working with Sea Share and others to purchase and distribute more fish in the coming weeks.