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AP reveals Alaska tribes in crisis as salmon runs disappear

Michael Williams scans the shoreline for moose while traveling up the Yukon River on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, near Stevens Village, Alaska. For the first time in memory, both king and chum salmon have dwindled to almost nothing and the state has banned salmon fishing on the Yukon. The remote communities that dot the river and live off its bounty are desperate and doubling down on moose and caribou hunts in the waning days of fall. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

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Reporter Gillian Flaccus and freelance photographer Nathan Howard documented the plight of remote Alaska Native tribes facing a lean winter because the once bountiful salmon runs on the Yukon River have all but stopped, likely due to climate change.

Howard traveled to Stevens Village, more than 300 miles north of Anchorage along the Yukon. He made striking images and drone video as hunters tracked moose and caribou, hoping to get enough to replace what would usually be a large bounty of salmon dried and smoked for winter months. The hunters worked nearly around the clock, even cleaning and gutting moose under the northern lights.

Flaccus, who has written extensively on the consequences of climate change, reported from Oregon, describing how tribal members are upset they haven’t received more help from state and federal authorities. Some feel their plight isn’t getting as much attention as farmers, ranchers and others affected by climate change in the lower 48.

The pair’s vivid text and photo package led reader engagement for the weekend and was near the top in pageviews for the same period.

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