The abundance of king salmon on the Yukon River this summer has been larger than average. Much larger than average. More than enough king salmon have swum up the Yukon to Canada than are needed to meet the Canadian harvest share. In fact, it even exceeds the upper end of that harvest share required by the US-Canada Salmon Treaty.
On Friday, Wildlife Officer Michael Whitney stood in front of a floor-to-ceiling map of Alaska and pointed out each of the Delta villages he works with. "We cover up there, to the coast," he said. "Up through Scammon Bay, Hooper Bay, Kotlik..."
It’s been almost a week since volunteers pulled a gray whale’s carcass to shore near Napaskiak, and Delta residents have cut it down to its bones. Local leaders expect the whale to feed hundreds of people, its blubber and meat shared with villages up and down the Kuskokwim River. It was a busy weekend for them: working around the clock to salvage the carcass, and hoping to avert a social media backlash and legal consequences.