May 22nd, 2014
Contact: Myron Naneng Sr. (907) 543-7300 or Victor Joseph (907) 452-8251
On May 20th, thirty-two federally recognized tribes in Alaska held a historic meeting in the Yukon River Village of St. Mary’s to initiate the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (YRITC) and to develop an Inter-Tribal Management Plan for Yukon River Chinook Salmon for 2014. The meeting was sponsored by Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) and the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC).
“This historical meeting was coordinated by AVCP and TCC to discuss the King salmon fisheries management concerns with the tribal representatives that have been working with many conservation strategies for almost twenty years now, and the declines have yet to be reversed. The tribal representatives from Hooper Bay, located on the south side of the Yukon River, and villages on the Yukon River and tributaries to the Canadian border have come up with a resolution for the establishment of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and a strategy to conserve the King salmon that has been on the decline for quite some time. We commend the tribal representatives who are willing to work together to conserve with a unified position and strategy to change what has been happening and reverse the declining status of the King salmon stock,” said Myron Naneng Sr., AVCP President.
“This meeting was a long overdue step to assert proper management of the King salmon stocks by the sovereign tribes on the Yukon River, those most dependent on the resource,” said Victor Joseph, TCC President. “Over 40 years ago, Congress promised Alaska Natives subsistence needs would be protected yet under the current management regime this promise has gone unfulfilled. The steep and continued decline of the Yukon King Salmon stocks and the now annual restrictions and closures of commercial and subsistence fisheries demands a new model of management that includes the tribes as co-management partners.”
A resolution brought forth by the Tribal Representatives calling for a moratorium on all directed Chinook fishing except for the minimum number needed for customary and traditional funerary potlatches was supported, by consensus, by the tribal representatives attending the meeting. The resolution also provides for a strategic plan to firmly establish the YRITFC and for development of a 2015 Chinook Management Plan. The resolution also sets out a strategy for continuing efforts to address Chinook by-catch in the Bering Sea fisheries, and the implementation and, where necessary, amendment of state and federal laws to ensure conservation, subsistence uses and recognition and empowerment of the YRITFC.
About the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission: The YRITFC is the product of a Salmon Summit held in Bethel, Alaska in the spring of 2012, where a resolution calling for the establishment of Inter-Tribal fish commissions for the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers was adopted to address the decline of Chinook Salmon runs.
About the Association of Village Council Presidents: AVCP is a non-profit tribal consortium which serves 56 tribes on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in an area that is approximately 59,000 square miles. AVCP provides a variety of Social Services,Human Development and culturally relevant programs that promotes tribal self-determination and self-governance. Established in 1964, AVCP is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
About Tanana Chiefs Conference: TCC is a non-profit organization that works toward meeting the health and social service challenges for more than 10,000 Alaska Natives spread across a region of 235,000 square miles in Interior Alaska.