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Yukon River Salmon Agreement

The salmon fishery in Yukon is governed by international treaties and interconnected institutions that work together to conserve and improve the territory`s salmon stocks. In April 2001, Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced that U.S. and Canadian officials had successfully concluded sixteen years of negotiations on Yukon River salmon. As a result of the negotiations, delegations prepared and initialled the text of a Yukon River Salmon Agreement (YRSA), which addressed all fisheries conservation and management issues, including harvest shares. This agreement ensures safety and stability for Yukon fishers with the first catch limits for the interception of Canadian-born Yukon River salmon. The main tasks of the Yukon River Expert Panel with respect to Canadian-born salmon stocks in the Yukon River are as follows: To enable the conservation and coordinated management of Canadian-born salmon stocks in the Yukon River, the 12 members of the SSP meet twice a year to make recommendations to relevant field units on both sides of the Alaska-Yukon border. Unlike other regional bodies and management committees established under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the HRP follows its own internal laws and procedures independent of the Pacific Salmon Commission. Over the years, the United States and Canada have entered into agreements on the management of certain salmon stocks in limited areas; for example, sockeye salmon and Fraser River pink salmon. However, the number and variety of fisheries intercepted in each country have resisted small-scale solutions. The Pacific Salmon Treaty is broad and can serve as a means of coordinated management of the coastal salmon resource. Salmon from the Canadian portion of the Yukon River drainage is a common resource between the Yukon Territory (Canada) and Alaska (United States). Yukon River Chinook and Chum salmon have some of the longest migration journeys in the world and are valued for their size and oil content.

People along the river depend on this resource for food, social, ceremonial, recreational and economic purposes. Due to the sharp decline in Canadian-born salmon populations in the Yukon River, the two countries have agreed to a cooperative management agreement for these resources – this agreement is now known as the Yukon River Salmon Agreement. Interception exists because salmon swim across international borders outside the jurisdiction of the government in whose water they breed. Fish migrate long distances and spend several years at sea. .

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