In the summer of 2021, most B.C. salmon fisheries were closed by the Canadian federal government, in order to restock the depleting marine populations. During this period, commercial fishermen in six fishing districts off southeastern Alaska intercepted 50,000 Chinook, 1.2 million chum, 540,000 cohos, 34 million pinks, and 800,000 sockeye salmon bound for Canada as per a report published by Watershed Watch Salmon Society and Skeena Wild Conservation Trust.
Every year, Millions of B.C.’s largest salmon pass through the waters off the Alaskan Panhandle just north of B.C. as they return to Canadian rivers to spawn.
Aaron Hill, executive director of WWSS, who was part of the study, said:
The governments of Canada and B.C. need to stand up right now and do something about this Alaskan plunder. Alaskan fisheries are now the biggest harvesters of a growing number of depleted Canadian salmon populations. This is not an isolated event: over-harvesting in Alaskan waters is threatening the future existence of these stocks. B.C. fishers, residents, and First Nations are making big sacrifices to rebuild salmon stocks without seeing a corresponding response north of the border
In 1985, Canada and the United States signed the Pacific Salmon Treaty and formed the Pacific Salmon Commission, an agency responsible for the bilateral management of fish stocks of mutual concern. However, Alaska's refusal to reduce the harvest of its Southeastern troll fishery to meet Canadian management goals has intensified the conflict in recent years. Most of the chapters of the treaty are set to renew in 2028.
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