(Fairbanks, AK) – As part of ongoing efforts to help Alaskans living along the Yukon River, Governor Mike Dunleavy, in partnership with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, Alaska seafood processors, and a local air cargo company coordinated the distribution of donated salmon to communities.
In response to the unprecedented shortage in salmon in the Yukon River this year, today charters on Everts Air flew out of Fairbanks to ship more than 10,900 pounds of chum and chinook. The salmon is being flown to Tanana, Rampart, Stevens Village, Beaver, Birch Creek, Circle, Chalkyitsik, Minto, and Nenana. The salmon came from six seafood processors in Bristol Bay that was coordinated through SeaShare, a non-profit organization that works with processors to distribute donated, high protein fish. A total of 25,000 pounds of fish were distributed, including an initial shipment to the village of Emmonak.
Governor Dunleavy also authorized $75,000 from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to pay for additional chum salmon for the communities of Emmonak and the Yukon River. The additional distribution is scheduled to occur in a few weeks.
“Alaskans are at their best when we come together to help one another,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “This collaboration between our tribal leaders, village elders, our local air businesses, seafood industry, and dedicated state workers is a show of our shared commitment to the people of the Yukon river and Emmonak.”
The distribution of shared salmon comes due to a poor run of both chinook, or king salmon, and chum salmon, on the Yukon River. Unlike other drainages in Alaska, the Yukon communities primarily sustain their winter diet with kings.
“Having lived in rural Alaska and raised a family in a village, I know the importance of the fishing season to keeping a family fed and healthy through a winter,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Make no mistake, this does not replace the cultural importance of the fishing season. But this joint effort between our tribal and village leaders, our local air businesses, our seafood industry, and dedicated state workers highlights the need of getting healthy, Alaskan-grown fish to our neighbors.”
There are plans to send more charters out in the near future.