The Yurok Tribe is bracing for the far-reaching economic, cultural, and social challenges created by what is expected to be the most catastrophic fisheries collapse in the Klamath River’s history. The number of fall Chinook salmon predicted to return to the river in 2017 — approximately 11,000 fish — is the lowest on record, a result of two consecutive, juvenile fish disease outbreaks and other contributing factors. The Tribe’s 2017 allocation, set by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, will likely be about 650 fish or one fish for every 10 Tribal members. In response to the all-time low forecast, the Yurok Tribe will not have a commercial fishery for a second year in row to protect salmon stocks. This unprecedented fisheries crash will have real consequences for the Yurok people, whose traditions, lives and livelihoods are intimately connected to the Klamath River and its salmon.
A March 2016 agreement between the Tribe, States of California and Oregon, as well as dam owner PacifiCorp and other stakeholders, planned the removal of the dams by 2020. The Tribe is working hard to ensure the dam removal process continues as planned and salmon can finally return to the upper reaches of the river. If the dams are removed it will be a major step toward the restoration of the Klamath River, however it does little to address the direct social consequences attached to the looming salmon disaster.Keyword Tags: