Hawaii & Alaska
Zoe Grueskin/KNOM

AK - Bering Sea survey finds Yukon River chinook populations are low and staying closer to shore

According to the survey’s preliminary estimates, young Yukon River chinook salmon populations continue to be low.

Salmon abundance is down and population distributions have changed, according to NOAA’s 2021 surface trawl survey. Besides focusing on salmon, the survey also examined aspects of Bering Sea life such as zooplankton, sediment, sharks, marine birds, pacific herring, capelin and saffron cod.

Like the bottom trawl presentation on Zoom earlier in November, the top trawl presentation examined decreasing fish populations occurring in several Bering Strait species.

According to the survey’s preliminary estimates, young Yukon River chinook salmon populations continue to be low.

“Juvenile abundance was below average in 2021 and has been below average since 2017,” research biologist Jim Murphy said.

Besides lower populations, Murphy also noted the distribution of chinook salmon observed this year was unusual. While one typically finds chinook salmon distributed throughout the Bering Sea area, the area which NOAA typically surveys, most chinook salmon were found near Alaska’s shores.

Graphs on juvenile chinook salmon. (Courtesy of NOAA)

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