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Severe erosion of the permafrost tundra threatens a school at Yupik Eskimo village of Napakiak in the Yukon Delta, Alaska on April 18, 2019. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

An unprecedented shortage in salmon in Alaska's Yukon River villages have forced local residents to rely on fish deliveries from outside sources, including non-profits and food processors, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Why it matters: The fish shortage — and need for outside deliveries — means local residents in the Yukon are not earning money from their own economies to use on essential supplies, including gas, and they could face a winter without sufficient food resources.

Driving the news: According to Jack Schultheis, the general manager of a fishery in the lower Yukon, 1.6 million fish typically appear on the sonar at this time, but currently the sonar is picking up about 150,000 fish.

  • "This is an incredibly unnerving time for our people," Ben Stevens, who manages the Tanana Chiefs Conference’s Tribal Natural Resources Commission, said.
  • "There’s starvation in our DNA," he added, citing previous crashes in fish and animal stocks.

The big picture: The reason for the low levels of kings and chum salmon on the Yukon are unknown.

  • "Hypotheses include warming waters from climate change, the proliferation of hatchery fish, and commercial fishing practices in the Bering Sea," per the Anchorage Daily News.
  • About 25,000 pounds of salmon from six seafood processors will be donated to families along the Yukon.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. blocks Fiji fishing boat, alleging forced labor

Photo: Azwar Ipank/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday it barred a commercial fishing boat from bringing tuna and other seafood into the United States, citing the Fiji-based boat operator's use of forced labor.

Driving the news: The agency accused Hangton No. 112, a long-liner, of committing "modern-day slavery" by withholding workers' wages, keeping their identity documents and forcing them into debt bondage.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."