Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yukon River salmon hurt by climate change

Climate change is the villain in a tragic story of declining wild salmon runs in the Yukon River. Ken Weiss of the LA Times reports that an emerging disease is killing fish because of climate change, and about the state of Alaska fiddling while the Yukon salmon burn.

Blogfish's northern link, my older brother Dale Powell who lives in AK and flies to villages all over the state, broke this story before Ken Weiss, reporting on troubles for native fishermen who are losing their traditional livelihood as the salmon decline (in the comments on the post). Oh, and the Fairbanks paper had a story too. And there was a story in 2001 on Arctic Science Journeys produced by Alaska Sea Grant.

All because of that ich-y parasite that you've probably seen on aquarium fish at one time or another, ich. Maybe we won't have sustainable wild salmon from Alaska in our fish markets much longer?!

2 comments:

Dale Powell (older brother) said...

I just read the Ken Weiss article, I am very familiar with the village of Tanana in the article, but I didn't know that the Salmon were showing up with the problems he mentioned. He did talk about the warming waters of the Yukon, I can relate a personal story from last winter. I was talking to an elder in the village of Nulato last winter, I don't remember exactly when. It is about 300 miles further upriver from Tanana. I asked him about the ice conditions, as there was still some open water on the river. He told me that in a typical year they would have already been crossing the river a month ago, yet there was no way they could cross with their snowmobiles to go hunting. He was worried they might have to wait much longer before it would be safe. It seems as if freezeup comes later in the year now, and great caution must be used when on the river during times where it was once safe. Yesterday I was in the Inupiaq village of Selawik, not far from Kotzebue, in western Alaska. There was a search party forming in the village, they were readying boats to search for a family member of one of the search party who had gone through the ice last winter on a snowmachine on the river. They are too common, and unfortunately are increasing. It is simply warmer in the winter than it used to be.

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