Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
December 4, 2002
U.S.-Canada Yukon River Salmon Agreement Signed
Following is the text of a joint statement issued by the United States and Canada upon the signing of U.S.-Canada Yukon River Salmon Agreement today in Washington, D.C.
Released on December 4, 2002
"Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky and Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Robert G. Thibault today in Washington signed the Yukon River Salmon Agreement. This international agreement, effective December 4, 2002, details a cooperative approach to conservation of salmon stocks originating in the Yukon River in Canada. These steps will help protect the salmon stocks for the future. In addition, the restoration and enhancement projects undertaken through this agreement will lead to increased salmon populations in the Yukon River.
The agreement will be included as an annex of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. As such, the Yukon River Salmon Agreement is separate from the Pacific Salmon Treaty because it sets out a distinct regime for Yukon River salmon, while adhering to the broad science-based management principles of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.
After 17 years of negotiations, the United States and Canada successfully concluded the elements of the Yukon River Salmon Agreement in Whitehorse, Yukon, in March of 2001. Stetson Tinkham of the Department of State led a U.S. delegation composed of federal agency officials representing the Departments of State, Commerce and Interior, officials from the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game and subsistence and commercial fishers from villages along the river. The Canadian delegation, led by Amos Donohue from the Department of Justice, was comprised of representatives from the commercial and recreational fisheries, the Yukon Territorial Government, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and several members from Yukon First Nations.
Key elements of the agreement include the formation of the binational Yukon River Panel and Yukon River Joint Technical Committee, abundance-based harvest sharing for upper Yukon chinook and chum salmon, and the Yukon Restoration and Enhancement Fund. Additionally, this agreement provides direction for coordinated management, rebuilding plans, habitat protection, restoration and enhancement.
Under the agreement, harvest sharing of salmon stocks will be managed according to the principles of precautionary abundance-based management. Both sides will manage their fisheries to ensure enough fish are available to meet escapement requirements and, whenever possible, to provide for subsistence and commercial harvests."