Yukon Fisheries Management

Pursuant to the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA), the main instrument for salmon management in the Yukon is the Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee. The YSSC is a non-government, public advisory body that makes recommendations to federal, territorial, and Yukon First Nation governments on all matters relating to Yukon salmon. These recommendations may be in relation to legislation, research, policies, programs or management plans.

The UFA further specifies that the YSSC may seek public input on salmon management plans and consult with First Nations on allocations. These consultations occur frequently and working groups have been established to assist in the development of the annual Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) for the Yukon Chinook and chum salmon, including Porcupine River stocks. This comprehensive plan includes objectives, decision guidelines and specific management measures, run outlooks, fisheries-specific plans, and current management issues and expected outcomes. Public advisory bodies, such as the YSSC, further serve to protect salmon stocks to maintain an essential part of the Yukon ecosystem, economy and lifestyle.

Members of the YSSC come from across Yukon and represent Yukon-wide interests. The composition of the ten-member committee is laid out in the Umbrella Final Agreement and is carefully structured to ensure diversity and balance. Nominations for YSSC members are put forward through the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the First Nations of the Alsek, Porcupine and Yukon River basins and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The Minister of DFO makes the final approval on all appointments to the YSSC.

Responsibility for implementing management plans rest with the Yukon/Transboundary Area of DFO. Using mark-recapture programs, weirs, aerial surveys, sonars, and test fisheries, DFO evaluates salmon runs during the fishing season to enumerate and assess escapements and to determine appropriate harvest levels. DFO is committed to achieving long-term goals for salmon conservation, sustainable use of the resource through application of precautionary principles and improved decision-making processes through consultation with those who have an interest in the fisheries resource.