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Yukon Salmon Faces Tough Times

US - Bragging doesn't come naturally to Marvin Okitkun, but the Yup'ik Eskimo fisherman doesn't miss a beat when talking up king salmon, the valuable fish that makes life possible for villagers on the cash-poor Yukon River delta.

"Once you've tried our salmon, you wouldn't want to have any other salmon from any other place," Okitkun said. "To us, everything else is hype."

The sterling reputation of the Yukon king is buoying the fragile economies of the tiny delta villages, which are among the state's poorest communities. Strikingly high fuel costs and disastrously low fish counts in the last decade have pushed the mostly Alaska Native region deep into poverty.

To survive, local fishermen have immersed themselves in the language and mindset of the modern gourmet in what has become a successful courtship of the upscale commercial seafood market.

Source: DailyNewsTranscript

Ellen Hardy

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