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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus)

Arctic char are important components of northern aquatic ecosystems and culturally significant to northern communities throughout the arctic and sub-arctic regions. They are an importance subsistence food in many northern countries and in some parts of Alaska, and they support a variety of sport and commercial fisheries, the largest being in Canada and Europe.

In western Alaska, Arctic char & Dolly Varden are known as “Yugyak” in Yupik cultures of western Alaska and as “Qakelay” to the Denaina cultures of Interior/southcentral Alaska. Where salmon are not abundant, Arctic char and Dolly Varden (along with other nonsalmon fish such as whitefish) replace salmon in local diets. In the Kotzebue area and Kuskokwim areas, subsistence fishing for Arctic char has few restrictions other than general statewide provisions (Fall et al. 2009, Fall et al. 1996)

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