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Biologists predict dismal Alaska king salmon run on Yukon

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic
Photo courtesy: Doug Karlberg, Yukon Gold Fisheries

Fisheries biologists in Alaska are predicting another dismal king salmon run on the Yukon River.

They say there may be no commercial fishing for the species for a third consecutive year. They’re also suggesting that subsistence fishers in Alaska and Canada could face severe restrictions.

Alaskan authorities have already announced subsistence fishing will not be allowed when the first pulse of king salmon enters the Yukon River sometime next week.

Steve Hayes is a biologist for Alaska Fish and Game.

"There's a chance that we may have to do more than protect the first pulse. We may have to protect the second pulse as well," he said.

Alaskan subsistence fishers catch about 50,000 of the fish a year to eat. Hayes said if their forecast holds true, restrictions could be severe.

"Anytime you have to restrict subsistence it's hard on the local people because they're dealing with the high price of gas and food is expensive, and you’re taking away those fish from them."

Yukon's First Nation fishers have been warned to prepare for the worst.

Test fisheries in Alaska next week should confirm if the forecast is accurate.

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