What We Do

YRDFA is a cooperative association of the fishers of the Yukon River whose families and cultures have depended on their relationship with wild Yukon salmon for hundreds of generations. For them, it is an economic and cultural imperative to protect this unique resource—one of the longest salmon migrations in the world.

People of 55 communities in the Yukon River drainage, including 45 Alaskan and 10 Canadian communities, depend on this resource for survival. These salmon provide sustenance, culture, and income.

Over the past century, overfishing, complex management, and changing habitats have brought this precious resource to the brink of destruction. More than 20 years ago, community leaders founded YRDFA as a communities-based organization that acts as a cornerstone for protecting the wild salmon runs of the Yukon drainage and the indigenous cultures that are intertwined with it.

YRDFA is the nexus, the connector of all the elements that go into sustainable salmon management. The fishers, with their traditional knowledge, constant observation, and communication with each other, are the best source of information about what is actually going on as the season runs progress. They provide the real-time information that guides the daily management decisions during the salmon season.

YRDFA’s vision 20 years from now is a thriving ecosystem with salmon and other natural resources continuing a comeback toward their once abundant numbers and healthy state. We see sets of management policies that are the product of integrated work by all stakeholders, and promote sustainability and survivability of the Yukon River people and cultures.

This is a vision that can be achieved, as long as there are resources and avenues for the involvement of the people who know the salmon best and whose lives are most dependent on it. YRDFA provides those resources and avenues.