Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Divergent responses of western Alaska salmon to a changing climate

December 1, 2023


  • Western Alaska salmon abundance reached historic extremes during 2021-22, with record lows for Chinook and chum salmon (81% and 92% below the 30-year mean, respectively) and record highs for sockeye salmon (98% above the 30-year mean).
  • Salmon are maturing at smaller sizes. Since the 1970s, for example, Yukon River Chinook salmon have decreased an estimated 6% in mean adult body length and 15% in fecundity, likely exacerbating population declines.
  • Salmon population declines have led to fishery closures, worsened user conflicts, and had profound cultural and food security impacts in Indigenous communities that have been tied to salmon for millennia.
  • Changes in abundance and size are associated with climatic changes in freshwater and marine ecosystems and competition in the ocean. Changes in predators, food supply, and disease are also likely important drivers.
Publication Year 2023
Title Divergent responses of western Alaska salmon to a changing climate
DOI 10.25923/f2hv-5581
Authors Erik Schoen, Kathrine G. Howard, James Murphy, Daniel Schindler, Peter A. H. Westley, Vanessa R. von Biela
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70250601
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Ecosystems