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Yukon First Nation to comply with salmon fishing ban

Chief Eric Fairclough says his community is feeling the impact of overfishing in the world’s oceans

CBC News

The Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation says it's putting aside aboriginal rights for conservation.

The First Nation is complying with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' ban on subsistence salmon fishing, even though fishing is a treaty right for First Nations.

“We need more salmon to get back to the spawning ground, so that we have more salmon coming back every year,” says Chief Eric Fairclough.

"We feel a bit helpless as to why the numbers are so low. You know, we all feel like it's because of overfishing in the oceans, and we're feeling the impact right here, in the spawning ground of the salmon."

Fairclough says part of the problem is the way fisheries operate off the coast of Alaska, where salmon is often a bycatch.

“Even last year, they were still able to throw away basically 12,000 salmon because their licence is for pollock fishing. They don't have licence for it, and it ends up going overboard.”

Salmon are a way of life for the First Nation. Going to the fish camp, learning about fishing and cutting and drying the fish occupy a large part of every summer.

Fairclough says fishing nets have been coming up with fewer fish in the last couple of years.

He's hoping they will be able to return to fishing next year.

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