It was a king-of-the-salmon (Trachipterus altivelis), a deep-sea-dwelling species of ribbonfish. Its common name comes from the legends of the Makah people west of Strait of Juan de Fuca, which believe this “king” leads the salmon to their spawning grounds each year.
A lack of chum salmon is causing pain in riverside communities of Yukon and Alaska, as mushers are left without a traditional source of food.
So far, the department has counted just under 37,000 fish at the Chilkat weir, well below the 10-year average of 80,000 fish. Zeiser said at this point in the season, it’s doubtful the run will hit the escapement range of 70,000 to 150,000 fish.
About 189,000 fall chum had entered the Yukon River as of Sept. 7. At least 300,000 fish must enter the river before either Alaska or Yukon fishers can begin harvesting.
After learning about catches of pink salmon near Salluit, Quebec wildlife officials are urging any fishers who net the newcomers to report their catch. Two pink salmon were netted in Nunavik during the summer of 2019 in the Ungava Bay region, one near Kangirsuk.