Tanana Chiefs Conference and Association of Village Council Presidents wrote a letter to Senator Sullivan to urge him to intervene and ensure that Yukon River Tribes are represented in the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force. In doing so , it will significantly strengthen the Task Force’s work and ensure that affected Tribes on both rivers have a voice in identifying key research needs to begin to recover vulnerable salmon populations. According to NOAA’s website, it appears that none of the 56 tribes along the Yukon River have been included into the Task Force of Appointees. In the letter to Senator Sullivan, it states, “Salmon harvesters along the Yukon River are facing the fourth year of subsistence fishery closures due to steep declines in the number of chum and Chinook salmon returning to the river. The situation playing out on the Yukon River is one of the most urgent examples of declining Pacific salmon populations in Alaska. We feel it is important for those most directly affected by the loss of this resource to be at the table as strategies are developed to better understand these catastrophic salmon declines.”
READ THE LETTER FROM TCC AND AVCP TO SENATOR SULLIVAN HERE:
“WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate this week voted unanimously to pass the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act, legislation introduced by Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (both R-Alaska) that would form a panel of Alaska’s salmon stakeholders and research experts to study Pacific salmon trends and create a coordinated research strategy for Pacific salmon in Alaska to support robust salmon runs. The Research Task Force would be directed to conduct a comprehensive review of Pacific salmon science relevant to understanding salmon returns in Alaska, and publish a report, within one year of convening, to provide recommendations identifying knowledge and research gaps and further research priorities for salmon in Alaska.
The Research Task Force would be composed of between 13 and 19 members, with the secretary of commerce appointing a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the U.S. section of the Pacific Salmon Commission. The secretary would also appoint between two and five representatives from Alaska covering the wide array of state fisheries stakeholders, including subsistence, commercial or recreational users. Lastly, the secretary would appoint five academic experts in salmon biology, management, and ecology, or marine research. The governor of Alaska would appoint one representative of the state.
The bill also directs the Research Task Force to establish a working group specifically focused on salmon returns in the AYK region of Western and Interior Alaska, where salmon return failures have had devastating impacts, and provides flexibility for the Research Task Force to establish other geographically-focused working groups.”
US Senator Dan Sullivan’s website – Sullivan.senate.gov – Posted December 16, 2022
SENATE PASSES SULLIVAN-MURKOWSKI ALASKA SALMON RESEARCH TASK FORCE ACT
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Website – NOAA.gov – posted June 9, 2023
NOAA Fisheries Announces Selection of the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Members