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Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee February Meeting

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Day 1 - 9am to 4:30pm, February 2nd, 2011 - Yukon Inn, Willow Room

Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee February Meeting [PDF]

In Attendance

Board Members: Tara Christie, Edward Long, Ron Chambers, Frank Thomas, Wold Reidl, Paul Birckel, Pauline Frost (Day 2)

Staff and Guests: Dennis Zimmermann (in-coming Executive Director, YSSC), James McDonald (Executive Secretary, DFO), Brian Bell (CYFN), Coralee Johns and Rosa Brown (TKC)

Not in Attendance: Tammy Josie, Wayne Jim


  • In-coming Executive Director, YSSC, Dennis Zimmermann to officially start Feb. 21, 2011

Call to Order

1. Review of Agenda - approved as is

  • No presentation by Stephen Mills, YESAB - re: Yukon Queen - no new information at this time.

2. Review and Approval of Minutes of 11/19/10 - Approved subject to minor changes - recommended by Paul Birckel - seconded by Frank Thomas. Second - no objections

3. Review of Action Items - from 11/19/10 Board Meeting - all completed including Panel Meeting completed, job description to Executive Director and hiring.

4. Panel Meeting Review -

  • Discussion regarding the presentations in Panel Review meetings in Anchorage. Yukoners, well-represented and demonstrated great deal of restraint and passion. Discussion about end of year results where Alaskans harvested 55,000 Yukon River Salmon and Yukoners has virtually none.
  • Alaskans were going to be conservative in the management of salmon. Most recommendations were ultimately thrown out in the US (i.e. dog food issue).
  • There appears to be science and homework at the mouth of the river and then plans don't change up-river. An inability to manage mid-stream or reluctance towards Canadians and resources managers after the first pulse. Resource managers knew in early July that the run would not measure up. There is also a clear decision time for Chum; when is that time for Kings?
  • Would be nice to have a clear response that everyone understood. Lack of clarity around the US resource management system. Canada has the colour-bar approach, that is clear and results in specific actions.
  • Perception of an overall reluctance to manage fishery by US. Politics at play, and the balance of power held down river.
  • There was a recognition that Yukon lost out last year and Alaska the year before.
  • Yukon has an international treaty based on sharing fish. Federal government need to pass message on and put more money into it.
  • Need to increase our communication with DFO to advise and share science. DFO can assist with the bigger picture along the river as the board is all regional. Recognized that YSSC has to be pro-active as well working with DFO and that is difficult for them to tell Alaska what to do. DFO has also faced budget cuts.
  • ACTION ITEM: an overview of the US fishery and management structure, boat information, names and contacts, and stakeholders.
  • .
  • ACTION ITEM: overview of the DFO office in light of changes.
  • While legislated, there is a challenge around the definition of subsistence in Alaska and how to change it. There is the sale of excess fish in Alaska (i.e. Chum and Kings) beyond subsistence. Their subsistence is different than our definition with Yukon First Nations.
  • A great deal of economic infrastructure and dependency in the lower river of US (i.e. boats, processing plants).
  • Overview of the personal presentations at the Yukon River Panel meetings by Yukon First Nations. Passionate and heart-felt. Yukon First Nations are suffering in that they cannot harvest Yukon River Salmon for cultural purposes and their way of life.
  • Even some Alaskans (i.e. in Grayling) recognize they are taking too many fish.
  • ACTION ITEM: get a list of those that attended the Yukon River Panel meeting in Anchorage and invite them to present their views.
  • ACTION ITEM: source photographs of the way things were with salmon fishing in Yukon
  • People along river are noticing salmon are changing, smaller, meat changing (i.e. softer), genetic differences, and size selectivity.

5. Ocean Issue/By-Catch -

  • Regulations around by-catch have changed. They can't throw them over, mandatory reporting and penalty. 1/3 are Yukon River Salmon with remainder heading for places like Oregon and Washington. By-catch last year was reported at 60,000.
  • By-catch is now headed for soup kitchens in places like Seattle. Is there a chance we can get these fish into Yukon communities, like Teslin? Discussion with individual in the Pacific Seafood Processors Association in Anchorage. Biggest issue will be transportation of salmon and any cross-border issue. There may be some resistance in that these are not all Yukon River Salmon and for some, replacing fish is not acceptable. Need to get the First Nation feedback. Possible corporate support.
  • ACTION ITEM: Contact DFO to find out if possible, contact the Pacific Seafood Processors Association and find out what might be involved with getting by-catch fish to Yukon communities, and discuss with Yukon First Nations

6. Member Updates

  • Discussion around the virus Ichthyophonus. It has been going through fish over the last 10-15 years. Potential management issues as they may be dying off before they get to Yukon. Changes the quota escapement formula for Yukon.
  • ACTION ITEM: Briefing note around Ichthyophonus.
  • More Mayo Dam discussion required.
  • Discussion around trans-boundary rivers and management. They have met their escapement goals. These treaties are all business, highly managed fishery and have compensation mechanism built into them.
  • YSSC should have a position on hatchery fish.
  • Use photography and the internet to communicate along the river.
  • Research and Enhancement (R and E) Fund looking at 50-60 proposals and ranking them with recommendations from DFO. Faith in DFO that they are making good decisions.
  • Would be worth working with DFO to make the R and E fund more strategic and well-planned. There appears to be money "spread around" to satisfy different groups.
  • Might be a good use of the R and E funds to get salmon back into the Mayo Dam area. How much would it cost to get fish around the dam? Need more of the history with fish in the area and have Yukon Energy address it. Need to discuss with Environment Yukon/YTG and get an answer.

7. Future Meetings

  • Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (Whitehorse) March 2, 3
  • Yukon River Panel (Whitehorse) March 21-24
  • Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (Dawson) – THFN, Commercial Anglers, Selkirk RRCs May 18, 19
  • Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (Whitehorse) October 19,20
  • Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (Whitehorse) November 16.17
  • Yukon River Panel (Whitehorse or Anchorage) December 5-8
  • Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (Whitehorse) February 2, 3
  • Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (Whitehorse) March 1, 2
  • YRDFA –Mountain Village, AK - Ron and Pauline are going February 14-17
  • Gwitchin Meeting – February 15-16 Inuvik – try to get information on anyone in attendance.
  • YFWMB – YSSC attending and will make a presentation Feb 9, 2011 at 2:30pm

8. Financials

  • Book-keeper had not responded by meeting time; approximately $21 in the bank.
  • DFO contribution update as of Jan 13 $101,818.37 approved and approx. $34,000 forthcoming.
  • Budget went in forwarded has to be signed by DFO ADM. Should be completed by April 1.

9. Drainage Working Group Meetings

  • Review of the draft terms of reference for the Yukon River Drainage Working Group
  • Discussion around which stakeholders should be involved and are necessary to consult. Where do commercial fisheries fit and other NGOs?
  • How many people would attend? Are all of our committee members to sit on each working group committee? How to limit the number of representatives or put restrictions. Who would compensate groups sitting on these committees?
  • Previous YSSC had informal drainage meetings. Need to meet with specific drainages in order to meet our obligations under the UFA.
  • Potential to work with the YFWMB because they meet with all the chairs and the RRC's twice a year. Perhaps consult with RRC's when they are already getting together.
  • ACTION ITEM: Discuss with YFMWB any effiencies in consulting with RRC's as part of drainage consultations.
  • There is a need to consult the DFO integrated fisheries management plan and recognize that DFO does their own consultation (end of May).
  • YSSC should use existing communication channels as well to communicate with these drainages. Both in-coming and out-going channels; including the YSSC website and newsletter.
  • Concern that this consultation with the drainages is going to be challenging given how many requests there are for the stakeholders time as well as the fact that DFO and YFWMB does the same consultation.
  • Suggestion that we might want to have one big meeting (like the Salmon Summit) as part of consultation rather than separate consultations.
  • Discussion around DFO consulting with the First Nations and not the RRCs; DFO weekly teleconferences with First Nations; US leads a drainage wide teleconference Tuesdays.

10. Yukon Queen

  • YESAB determined HAL did adequately respond although there is still outstanding information required by the proponent. When they provide the information, YESAB will determine whether this is adequate and will update the YSSC.
  • HAL will have to re-submit within two years, and will require section 32 and 35 permit to destroy salmon and salmon habitat. This is what triggered the YESAB application originally. These permits are not rare.

11. Mayo Dam

  • YEC is waiting for a water licence and have a short window to get it in.
  • Discussion around whether a fish ladder was ever considered and there must be a way to get salmon up there.
  • Has there ever been a TK survey for the Mayo River?

Adjourn - 3:30pm.

Day 2 - 9am to 12:00pm, February 3rd, 2011 - Yukon Inn, Willow Room

12. Review of the YSSC Section of the UFA

  • Need to get back out into the communities, meet with the RRC's to consult, develop a strategy and listen to the voice of the people in a more regular fashion.
  • Challenge in consulting with RRC's. Yukon is a big place and with a lack of resources we need to develop an efficient model in how we consult. Do we send letters or go there? What is our message and how do we deliver value.
  • RRC's have the closest ear to the ground (i.e. Alsek Drainage knows their specific salmon issues) and are more in tune with concerns.
  • It would be helpful to have a standard template that comes out of our office; here is our key role; you play a real role, we want to hear from you so we can work on your behalf; wait to hear back and respond accordingly.
  • What is the role of the committee members and consultation? What would board members like to do? Go to each RRC? How to interact to use our time most effectively.
  • ACTION ITEM: develop a communications strategy, and outreach plan for consultation.
  • Discussion around working with the semi-annual meetings of the YFWMB. If YSSC is consistent, the RRC's will be expecting it.
  • ACTION ITEM: media lines for Panel meetings in Whitehorse.
  • Require clarification around 16.7.19 of the UFA; may be a recommendation that the Yukon River population of Salmon are of international interest.

13. Yukon Salmon Summit - Presentation Brian Bell

  • Brian Bell and CYFN has submitted a conceptual proposal for consideration into the R and E fund for a Salmon Summit.
  • Topics will include: youth/elder exchange, climate change issues, presentations, monitoring training, conservation and education.
  • Involvement expressed by Jason Hale at YRDFA and inclusion into their newsletter.
  • Interested in soliciting media interest.
  • Question by the YSSC about who is the steering committee and who are the proponents? No formal committee however, a facilitator and organizer will be hired. CYFN is the proponent.
  • Location at Ta’an facility at Deep Creek.
  • Question around what is the YSSC role? Just making a presentation or broader? Need to see the detailed proposal.
  • YSSC could have a strong role but needs to involved as a proponent earlier in the process. The proposal needs to have defined objectives and outcomes.
  • CYFN sees YSSC as having a strong role.
  • YSSC would be supportive of a professional facilitator.
  • ACTION ITEM: Letter of support for CYFN on the Salmon Summit R and E proposal.

14. TKC Salmon Hoodie Fundraiser Presentation

Adjourn - 12:00pm.