ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Yukon River smokehouses should be filled this summer with oil-rich strips of king salmon — long used by Alaska Natives as a high-energy food to get through the long Alaska winters. But they're mostly empty.
The kings failed to show up, and not just in the Yukon.
One Alaska river after another has been closed to king fishing this summer because significant numbers of fish failed to return to spawn. The dismally weak return follows weak runs last summer and poor runs in 2007, which also resulted in emergency fishing closures.
The disappearance of salmon is a bad sign for the health of the oceans and fish stocks. It's a disaster for the economies of the Alaskan native towns as well. "That means instead of making between $20,000 and $30,000 in the 1970s, fishermen are making just a few thousand dollars now, and that in villages where fuel costs $8 a gallon, milk is $15 a gallon and a T-bone steak costs $25."
From "King salmon vanishing in Alaska, smokehouses empty," Yahoo News.