Historic Highs and Historic Lows: What is Going on With Alaska’s Salmon Returns?

This is a bizarre tale of two rivers, one experienced record high fish returns, and the other record lows, and only 500 miles of coastline separate them.

Earlier this summer, it was reported that Bristol Bay experienced one of their best sockeye returns ever, with over 65 million sockeye salmon returning to the bay on their spawning run. This year’s returning count shattered the previous record set by the 2018 run. This fact was applauded and shared around social media, lauded as a victory after the battle to protect the incredible natural treasure that it Bristol Bay.

However, a dark cloud now hangs over this bright fact, the Yukon River faced its worst return numbers, especially where chum salmon were concerned. Alarming many locals who rely upon that watershed’s annual salmon runs for jobs and for sustenance.

What’s to blame, you ask? Many experts believe the chaotic swings in temperatures and conditions brought on by the effects of climate change.

Check out this in-depth article on the boom and bust of two iconic Alaskan rivers, in this article from the New York Times.

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