The Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association (YRDFA) is a 501 .(c)(3) non-profit of subsistence and commercial fishers and traditional cultures within the Yukon River drainage.
The Yukon River is home to the longest salmon migration in the world. These salmon provide key dietary and cultural support for over forty-two rural Alaskan villages. For many families, the commercial salmon harvest provides the only means of income, and salmon provides a primary source of food for humans and the sled dogs that are integral to their subsistence way of life.
YRDFA was created in 1990 to conserve these salmon runs by giving a voice to the people who have managed the resource for thousands of years. YRDFA has become an essential part of the communications between fishers and fishery managers in this region.
YRDFA represents village fishers at important state, federal and international decision making tables, works to document and utilize Traditional Ecological Knowledge in fisheries management and strengthens the long-term economic viability and sustainability of Yukon RIver communities through preserving subsistence fisheries and enhancing commercial fisheries. YRDFA also serves as a leading research organization aimed at conserving Yukon River wild salmon throughout their life cycles.
Due to sharp declines of Canadian-origin Yukon River salmon populations, Canada and the United States negotiated a cooperative management arrangement for the resource. That arrangement is now known as the Yukon River Salmon Agreement.
The Yukon River Salmon Agreement outlines steps to ensure the sustainability of the Canadian-origin, Yukon River salmon stocks and fisheries through conservation, management practices, stock rebuilings, harvest sharing, research and habitat protection. Ultimately, the Agreement was achieved by the people who depend upon and manage these salmon fisheries. The negotiations succeeded because of the dedication and hard work of Yukon River residents to preserve the salmon stocks and fisheries essential to their Yukon River way of life. This Agreement guides much of our work.
The people of the Yukon River take great pride in the Yukon River Salmon Agreement as it continually enables their effective participation in managing the Canadian-origin salmon resources.