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Canada, U.S. agree on salmon protection

May 23, 2008 |  2:44 pm

Alaskan_salmon

The U.S. and Canada have reached a new 10-year agreement aimed at preventing overfishing of salmon off the western coast of Canada and southeast Alaska, Rachel La Corte of the Associated Press reports:

The plan announced Thursday by the Pacific Salmon Commission could most affect chinook salmon, which migrate from Washington to the waters of British Columbia and Alaska, where they are often caught by sport and commercial fisheries.

Under the proposed change to the existing Pacific Salmon Treaty, the U.S. would give Canada $30 million for its effort to reduce commercial salmon fishing; Alaska would receive about $7 million. Washington would receive about $7 million to improve chinook habitat.

Alaska will reduce its catch of wild salmon 15% over the next 10 years; Canada will make a 30% reduction.

The agreement comes less than a month after federal authorities declared the West Coast ocean salmon fishery a failure, opening the way for Congress to appropriate economic disaster assistance for coastal communities in California, Oregon and Washington.

The declaration stemmed from the sudden collapse of the chinook salmon run in California's Sacramento River, where the salmon return to spawn.

Scientists are studying the causes of the collapse, with possible factors including ocean conditions, habitat destruction, dam operations and agricultural pollution, but the agreement does not address the the issue.

--Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times

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