FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 31, 2018
Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction) – The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) announced today the immediate closure of the subsistence fishery for sambay (sockeye) and gyü (Chinook) salmon in the Tatshenshini River and all its tributaries for the 2018 season.
The number of salmon returning to Klukshu and the entire Tatshenshini River system has been critically low for many years and, so far, the numbers returning in 2018 are even worse. Last week, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reported that 299 Chinook (King) and 15 sockeye salmon have reached Klukshu and Village creeks to spawn. The forecast run for 2018 was already lower than previous years, but the number of salmon returning so far is much worse than predicted.
“Champagne and Aishihik Citizens are concerned about the very low numbers of returning salmon to Klukshu. We are voluntarily giving up our right to harvest in order to allow the few returning fish to spawn.” says Dän nätthe äda Kaaxnox (Chief Steve Smith). “Our dän (people) recognize that our salmon are at risk of disappearing completely. As the stewards of our land and waters, we must look after the fish and protect our traditional way of life for generations to come.”
During our General Assembly on July 22, CAFN Citizens passed a resolution for the immediate emergency closure of the fishery. The resolution was brought forward by the Elders Senate and called for a salmon summit at Łu Ghą (Klukshu) to discuss the current crisis and how to bring the salmon back.
This August, CAFN will host a salmon camp for youth and families to learn about salmon identification, traditional fishing grounds, cultural practices and salmon management. CAFN will purchase Taku River salmon for the camp.
“It is critical that we work together with Canada and the United States, including our neighbors in Alaska, to uphold the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Right now, our salmon agreement is not working the way it was intended and we must act to bring our fish back,” said Dän nätthe äda Kaaxnox.
This is not the first time CAFN dän have had to do without this critical subsistence food source – the salmon runs have been very low for several years. CAFN is also concerned with poor salmon returns on the Yukon River system, which impacts tributaries in our Traditional Territory.
The emergency closure is for conservation purposes for the duration of the 2018 season and includes the Tatshenshini, Klukshu, Blanchard, and Takhanne rivers, and Village Creek. The fishery is also closed to visitors and CAFN will not issue any visitor licenses for the area.
For more information: