2018 Inseason Alaska Commercial Salmon Summary

This summary provides management, harvest, and escapement information for the Alaska commercial salmon fishing season. This summary will be updated each Friday between mid-May and September. Please note, inseason harvest data published in this summary are preliminary and subject to change. For more information on the Blue Sheet, inseason summaries, and harvest timing charts, please see our Blue Sheet, Inseason Summary, and Harvest Timing Charts Overview page.


 
Southeast Alaska

Southeast Chinook Salmon Symposium

The Southeast Chinook Salmon Symposium hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was held on Monday, May 21, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Sitka's Harrigan Centennial Hall. All event materials, presentations, and recorded audio are on the department's website at 2018 Sitka Chinook Symposium.

Presentation topics included:

  • Chinook salmon research: What we know about performance of local stocks, as well as Pacific Northwest Chinook salmon stocks coast-wide.
  • A look at the last 10 years of Chinook salmon management for commercial and sport fisheries, including annual allocations, actual harvest, and performance relative to the Pacific Salmon Treaty.
  • Conservative actions: Management measures in response to poor Chinook salmon production.
  • Treaty transparency: A summary of the treaty past, present, and future.
  • Public process and participation: An overview of the public regulatory process and how to get involved.
  • Public question and answer session.

Troll Fishery

During the 2018 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka, action plans to conserve wild Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon were adopted. These measures and further supplementary emergency order actions restrict spring troll fisheries for conservation of Southeast Alaska and transboundary river Chinook salmon stocks. Spring troll fisheries target Alaska hatchery Chinook salmon and, for 2018, are limited to seven terminal harvest areas and eight spring troll areas located on the outer coast and/or near hatchery release sites. When compared to recent years' openings, a reduced number of spring troll and terminal harvest fisheries opened May 1. A total of 15 spring troll and terminal harvest areas have been opened to date.

Through June 14 (Stat Week 24), approximately 195 permits holders have made 655 landings, with a total of 3,604 Chinook salmon harvested. This is a decrease in effort from both 2017 and the 5-year average, primarily due to the reduction in the number of areas opened. The 2018 cumulative spring Chinook harvest through June 14 is down from 2017 and the 5-year average by 1,868 and 16,261, respectively. The current spring troll seasonal average weight for Chinook salmon of 12.4 lbs. is above the 2017 average of 11.7 lbs. and at the 5-year average of 12.4 lbs. during the same weeks. The seasonal Chinook salmon average price per pound of $12.49 is a $3.09 increase from 2017, and a $5.28 increase from the 5-year average. A news release announcing openings for the week of June 17 will be issued this Friday, June 15.

For more information please see the 2018 Spring Troll Fishery Management Plan (PDF 5,470 kB)

Purse Seine Fishery

The Southeast Alaska purse seine fishery is managed according to statute, regulations, emergency order authority, and in consultation with the public and industry through the Purse Seine Management Task Force process. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued a preseason forecast for a harvest of 23 million pink salmon for 2018. This forecast for pink salmon, together with historical escapement estimates, fishery performance data, private non-profit hatchery forecasts for chum salmon and other species, are used to determine the management plan.

Regulations allow purse seine fishing in Districts 1 (Sections 1-C, 1-D, 1-E, and 1-F only), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Sections 6-C and 6-D only), 7, 9, 10, 11 (Sections 11-A and 11-D only), 12, 13, and 14. Purse seine fishing is also allowed in hatchery terminal harvest areas (THA) at Neets Bay, Kendrick Bay, Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, and Hidden Falls. Although the areas specified above are designated purse seine fishing areas, specific open areas and fishing times are established inseason by emergency order.

Since statehood, 77% of the salmon harvested in SEAK commercial fisheries have been caught with purse seine gear. Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) is the primary species targeted by the purse seine fleet; therefore, most management actions are based on the abundance of pink salmon stocks. Chum salmon (O. keta) are targeted in or near hatchery terminal areas and the majority of the chum salmon harvest is from hatchery production. Other species of salmon are harvested incidentally to pink and chum salmon.

For more information please see the 2018 Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Fishery Management Plan (PDF 299 kB)

Drift Gillnet Fishery

Traditional Southeast area drift gillnet fisheries occur in Districts 1, 6, 8, 11, and 15. For more specific information please see the 2018 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 526 kB)

Tree Point/Section 1-B

The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery opens the third Sunday in June, or Sunday, June 17, 2018. For further details concerning this fishery, the 2018 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 526 kB).

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

The 2018 preseason terminal run forecast for Stikine River large king salmon is 6,900 fish. This forecast is well below the average of 22,000 fish and well below the escapement goal range of 14,000-28,000 fish. This forecast does not allow for directed king salmon fisheries in District 8. Recent trends of Stikine River king salmon abundance and trends in king salmon abundance throughout SEAK indicate very poor survival of king salmon. As such, conservation measures will be in place for the start of the sockeye salmon fishery.

The 2018 preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon is 161,000 fish, which is near the average of 159,000 fish. This forecast includes: 112,000 Tahltan Lake, 13,000 enhanced Tuya Lake, and 36,000 mainstem sockeye salmon. Fishing periods in District 8, and to a lesser extent in District 6, will be determined by inseason abundance estimates of Stikine River sockeye salmon. Both districts could have opened by regulation as early as the second Sunday in June (June 10). However, with an expected poor run of Stikine River king salmon, conservation measures will be in place in both districts. Conservation measures include; delaying the initial sockeye salmon opening by two weeks in District 8 and by one week in District 6, implementing a six-inch maximum mesh size, limiting fishing time, and reducing fishing area in District 8. The initial District 6 opening on June 17 will be limited to 48 hours. The following week, both Districts will be open for an initial 48 hours on June 24 and may be extended based on observed effort and harvest levels. During the first few weeks of the sockeye salmon fishery, any extended fishing time or midweek openings will be based on the preseason forecasts, expected harvest levels, and stock proportion data.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

The District 11 drift gillnet fishery will be managed in accordance with the Transboundary River (TBR)Annex of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST). Harvest sharing arrangements for Chinook, sockeye, and coho salmon through the 2018 fishing season are specified in the annex.

The preseason forecast is well below the escapement goal range and requires a conservative management approach for the 2018 Taku River Chinook salmon run. The forecast does not provide any AC for U.S. fisheries in early May, no assessment fishery will occur on the Canadian side of the border, and the joint U.S./Canada inriver assessment project on the U.S. side of the border will be minimized to reduce the number of fish handled. Inseason abundance estimates derived from comparisons of inriver tangle net CPUE may be available in mid- to late May and would be used to determine the extent of restrictions implemented during the initial weeks of the traditional sockeye salmon season possibly involving adjustments in time, area, and mesh size. However, inseason assessment may cease if the run does not appear large enough to allow the additional handling of fish.

Section 11-B will open for directed sockeye salmon fishing on the third Sunday in June (June 17) likely for a two-day fishing period with an area restriction closing waters in Taku Inlet north of Point Greely and west of a line of longitude running mid-inlet from the latitude of Point Greely to a point where it intersects with the shoreline south of Grand Island. A six-inch maximum mesh size restriction and night closures will be in effect. The second opening will likely have identical restrictions to the first. The maximum mesh size restriction and night closures will remain in place through at least the third opening and area may be liberalized during the third opening to have only those waters in the northern portion of Taku Inlet closed (for example, north of Cooper Point). Subsequent openings will be based on inseason fishery performance and stock assessment information, but Taku Inlet will likely only open for two days through the fifth opening and waters north of Jaw Point will be closed for the fourth and fifth openings.

The District 11 fishery will be managed through mid-August primarily on the basis of sockeye salmon abundance. Run strength will be evaluated using harvest and CPUE data, and weekly inriver run size estimates derived from the Taku River fish wheel mark-recapture project. Contribution of enhanced stocks of sockeye salmon will be estimated inseason by analysis of salmon otoliths sampled from the commercial harvests. The age and stock compositions of the commercial harvest of wild sockeye salmon will be estimated after the fishing season by scale pattern and genetic stock identification (GSI) analysis.

The returns of Port Snettisham enhanced sockeye salmon will be managed according to the District 11: Snettisham Hatchery Salmon Management Plan. The plan provides basic guidelines for managing enhanced sockeye salmon production from Port Snettisham including the following provisions in order of priority:

  • Sustainable production of wild sockeye salmon from Crescent and Speel lakes;
  • Manage Port Snettisham enhanced sockeye salmon returns in a manner that does not prevent achieving escapement goals or PST harvest sharing agreements for Taku River salmon stocks;
  • Assessment programs shall be conducted to estimate Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon stock escapements and contributions of enhanced sockeye salmon to the District 11 commercial fishery;
  • Common property harvests in the Speel Arm Special Harvest Area (SHA) shall be conducted by limiting time and area to protect wild sockeye salmon returns.

Management of the fishery in Stephens Passage will focus on conservation of Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon stocks, particularly in July. ADF&G intends to implement a six-inch minimum mesh size restriction in Section 11-B south of Circle Point in order to limit harvest rates on Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon while allowing harvest of enhanced chum salmon returning to the Limestone Inlet remote release site. The mesh restriction in Section 11-B may be relaxed at the end of July or after the peak migration timing of Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon stocks through Stephens Passage.

A personal use fishery will be allowed in Sweetheart Creek to ensure enhanced sockeye salmon returns to this site are fully utilized. Sweetheart Creek is naturally blocked to anadromous fish migration several hundred yards upstream from the mouth. The Sweetheart Creek personal use fishery will be open seven days per week starting June 1.

In order to avoid conflicts with sport fisheries, the District 11 drift gillnet fishery will not be open concurrent with the 2018 Juneau Golden North Salmon Derby (August 17-19) and will not open until Monday, August 20.

Pink salmon are harvested in Section 11-B incidental to sockeye and enhanced summer chum salmon fisheries. Fishing time for a directed pink salmon fishery in Section 11-C will depend upon the strength of pink salmon returns to lower Stephens Passage, Seymour Canal, and the northern portions of District 10. Returns will be closely monitored, but an opening in Section 11-C is highly unlikely based on parent-year escapements.

Beginning in mid-August, management of the Taku/Snettisham drift gillnet fishery will be based primarily on the run strength of returning Taku River coho salmon. In 2015, a point escapement goal of 70,000 Taku River coho salmon with a range of 50,000-90,000 fish was adopted by the TBR Panel. Similar to the past several seasons, Canada may harvest all coho salmon that pass above the border in excess of both the point escapement goal and a 5,000 fish assessment fishery. The District 11 fishery will be managed to provide a minimum above border run of 75,000 coho salmon. Inseason management will be based on evaluation of the fishery catch, effort, and CPUE relative to historical levels, inriver run size estimates from the Taku River mark-recapture project, and recovery of CWT Taku River wild and hatchery coho salmon in marine fisheries.

Lynn Canal/District 15

The gillnet fishery in Lynn Canal, District 15, will begin at noon on June 17 (SW 25) and will be managed according to the Lynn Canal and Chilkat River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 33.384) and the Board of Fisheries guidelines reported in the Chilkat River and King Salmon River King Salmon Stock Status and Action Plan, 2018 (Lum and Fair 2018).

The Lynn Canal drift gillnet fishery operates in the waters of District 15 and is divided into three regulatory sections: 15-A (upper Lynn Canal), 15-B (Berners Bay), and 15-C (lower Lynn Canal). This fishery has historically targeted sockeye salmon from late June through September and fall chum and coho salmon from mid-August to mid-October throughout District 15. In recent decades, the fishery has harvested substantial numbers of hatchery summer chum salmon in Section 15-C returning to DIPAC release sites at Boat Harbor and Amalga Harbor THAs. Section 15-B has only opened once in the last 10 years to target coho salmon.

The Chilkat River Chinook salmon stock was designated as a stock of concern at the 2018 Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting after multiple years of failing to achieve escapement goals. The 2018 preseason total forecast of Chilkat River Chinook salmon is 1,033 large fish, below the escapement goal range of 1,750-3,500 large fish. Conservation measures implemented by ADF&G to minimize Chinook salmon retention include a 6-inch maximum mesh size restriction during SWs 25-27 (June 17-July 7) in Section 15-A and during SWs 25-26 (June 17-30) in Section 15-C. Additional conservation measures to protect inside rearing Chinook salmon will take place by imposing night closures between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. during SWs 25-28 (June 17-July 14) in Sections 15-A and 15-C. Time and area restrictions outlined in following sections will also be implemented to minimize the catch of Chinook salmon.

Wild sockeye salmon returning to the Chilkat and Chilkoot lakes make up the majority of sockeye salmon harvest in District 15 with additional contribution from the Chilkat River main-stem stock. The parent years for the 2018 return to Chilkat Lake had an escapement of 108,000 in 2012 and 111,000 in 2013, which is close to the midpoint of the escapement goal range of 70,000-150,000. Zooplankton prey observations during the first summer of lake rearing for these brood years indicated above average abundances of Copepods and Cladocerans. The strong parent-year escapement and zooplankton abundance suggest an average to above average return of sockeye salmon to Chilkat Lake in 2018. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 run to Chilkoot Lake was 46,000 sockeye salmon which is near the lower bound of the escapement goal range (38,000-86,000). Zooplankton prey observations during the first summer of lake rearing for this brood year and the pre-smolt estimate in the fall from hydroacoustic observations were above average. The low parent-year escapement and strong zooplankton and pre-smolt estimates suggest an average or below average run of sockeye salmon to Chilkoot Lake in 2018.

Sockeye salmon are typically caught throughout District 15 starting in the first week of the season (SW 25). The Chilkoot Lake sockeye salmon are usually first to enter Lynn Canal followed by the Chilkat Lake stock which are present throughout the sockeye salmon management season. Sockeye salmon are targeted in Section 15-A and are targeted or incidentally caught while targeting chum salmon in Section 15-C. Area restrictions that will influence sockeye salmon harvest in Section 15-A include closing the area north of Eldred Rock Lighthouse during SWs 25-29 (June 17-July 21) by implementing and exceeding conservation measures of the Lynn Canal and Chilkat River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan, 2018 (Lum and Fair 2018). Furthermore, the area west of a line from Eldred Rock Light to a point two nmi from the eastern shoreline at 58°51.00' N. latitude, 135°12.77' W. longitude, will also be closed through SW 29. In Section 15-C, area restrictions that may influence sockeye salmon harvest include opening for a maximum of two days in the "Postage Stamp" for SW 25 (June 17- 23) and a maximum of two days south of the latitude of Vanderbilt Reef in SW 26 (June 24-30). The "Postage Stamp" area is defined as: The waters of Section 15-C south of the latitude of Vanderbilt Reef light and east of a line from Vanderbilt Reef Light to Little Island Light. After SW 29 in Section 15-A and after SW 26 in Section 15-C, the Chilkat Chinook salmon run is mostly through the area and traditional Lynn Canal management practices will begin based on in-season observations of Chinook salmon returns to the Chilkat River and sockeye salmon returns to Chilkat and Chilkoot lakes.

Approximately 1,984,000 summer chum salmon are forecasted to return to DIPAC release sites at Boat Harbor and Amalga Harbor THAs in 2018. The commercial harvest is expected to be 1,454,000 chum salmon. This forecast is slightly below the 10-year average but well above the long-term historical average. Summer chum salmon harvests are expected to be average to above average in 2018. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 return of Chilkat River fall chum salmon was estimated to be 140,000 fish. Although this is still within the escapement goal range, it is below the midpoint and is lower than the 10-year average of 234,000. Fall chum salmon returns to the Chilkat River are expected to be average to below average for 2018. Summer chum salmon returning to the DIPAC release site at the Boat Harbor THA are caught in Section 15-C starting in the first week of the season (SW 25). Area, time, and gear restrictions outlined in previous sections to minimize Chinook salmon retention will likely impact the fleet's ability to harvest chum salmon outside the Boat Harbor THA. The Chilkat River fall chum salmon run begins in late August. The run will be monitored by evaluation of harvest in the District 15 drift gillnet fishery and by fish wheel catches. If the indications are for a strong run, fishing area may be expanded to include the Chilkat Inlet in Section 15-A.

The Chilkat River is the primary source of the commercial coho salmon harvest in Lynn Canal with some contributions from Berners River. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 return to the Chilkat River was estimated at 49,000 fish which is near the mid-point of the escapement goal range of 30,000-70,000 fish. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 return of coho salmon to the Berners River was 12,500 fish which was above the escapement goal range of 4,000-9,200. Coho salmon returns to Lynn Canal are expected to be average. The Chilkat River coho salmon run begins in late August. The run will be monitored by evaluation of harvest in the District 15 drift gillnet fishery and by fish wheel catches. If the indications are for a strong run, fishing area may be expanded to include the Chilkat Inlet in Section 15-A.

Parent-year pink salmon escapements to District 15, and throughout the northern part of the region, were below average in 2016. Returns of pink salmon to the northern Southeast Alaska inside waters are expected to be low for 2018 as stocks continue the trend of low even-year abundance. Pink salmon start their return to Lynn Canal in the beginning of July and are caught incidentally when targeting sockeye salmon. If the pink salmon return is strong as indicated by aerial surveys and there are no sockeye salmon concerns, Lutak Inlet may be opened to target pink salmon.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

Yakutat Bay and the Dangerous River commercial set gillnet fisheries opened on June 10 for 2.5 days. The Dangerous River was not fished, and 20 permits harvested 66 Chinook and 150 sockeye salmon in Yakutat Bay. Fishing effort was slightly below average, and the sockeye salmon harvest was among the lowest harvest on record.

Escapement monitoring at the Situk River weir for sockeye and Chinook salmon started the first week in June. To date, less than 50 sockeye salmon and one medium-sized Chinook salmon have been enumerated at the weir. The 10-year average cumulative count is approximately 5,000 sockeye salmon. It appears run-timing could be at least one week late this year. If the Situk River weir sockeye and Chinook salmon passage continues to be well below the 10-year average, Yakutat Bay and the Situk-Arhnklin Inlet commercial fisheries could face closures until such time adequate levels of escapement are observed.

The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and the Manby Shore fisheries will open on Sunday, June 17. With the current low abundance levels in the Yakutat area, these fisheries, as well as the Dangerous River and Yakutat Bay fisheries, will open with reduced fishing time. The fishing periods will be reduced from 2.5 days to 1.5 days of fishing. The remainder of the Yakutat District will open on the fourth Sunday in June. The East Alsek, Akwe, and the Italio River systems will open by emergency order when adequate levels of escapement can be documented.

Sockeye salmon returns to the Yakutat Area in 2018 are expected to be average to above average. The 2018 preseason projection of a total return of 730 large Chinook salmon to the Situk River is indicative of an average return, however, any harvests of these stocks will result in the escapement goal not being achieved. The Situk River subsistence, sport, and commercial Chinook salmon fisheries are closed until further notice. These fisheries will reopen when Situk River weir counts indicate the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) will be attained. The coho salmon return this year is also expected to be average to above average.

The preseason projection for Alsek River Chinook salmon indicates a below average run. The Alsek River commercial fishery was delayed two weeks this season due to Chinook salmon conservation. The fishery will open on Sunday, June 17 for 24 hours. A six-inch maximum mesh restriction is in effect until July 1 and fishermen are asked to release all live, and healthy Chinook salmon. With poor sockeye salmon returns in recent years and continued poor forecasts, the directed sockeye salmon fishery will be managed conservatively through SW 29 (July 15). The coho salmon return to the Alsek River this year is expected to be average to above average.

Terminal Harvest Area (THA) Fisheries

Terminal Harvest Area (THA) gillnet fisheries occur in Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, and Boat Harbor. THA seine fisheries occur in Neets Bay, Kendrick Bay, Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, and Hidden Falls.

Nakat Inlet THA

The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 260,300 and for fall chum salmon is 56,890. Nakat Inlet opens to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Friday, June 1, 2018. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,347,900, for fall chum salmon is 59,400, for Chinook salmon is 18,100, and for coho salmon is 82,716. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by Drift Gillnet and Purse Seine on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Currently there is no reported harvest. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 632,500. Kendrick Bay opens to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Friday, June 15, 2018. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Anita Bay THA

The 2018 Anita Bay THA forecast includes: 459,000 summer chum, 15,400 king, and 9,900 coho salmon. Anita Bay opened May 15 to troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear concurrently. Troll fishing will remain open for the season. A rotational fishery will begin on June 13 for the drift gillnet and purse seine gear groups with a time ratio of one to one. This rotational fishing period will conclude on August 31 when the THA opens to both gear groups concurrently until it closes for the season on November 10 at 12:00 noon. The harvest to date is confidential. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Deep Inlet THA

The Deep Inlet THA opens on May 1; rotational fisheries begin on June 17, with seine openings on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and gillnet openings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,250,000 chum salmon, 12,700 king salmon, and 66,000 coho salmon. This season, 90,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock. NSRAA does not anticipate cost recovery operations this season in the Deep Inlet THA.

Hidden Falls THA

The first common property purse seine openings in the Hidden Falls THA are scheduled for June 17 and June 24. Subsequent openings will be dependent on inseason run strength. Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 593,000 chum salmon and 191,000 coho salmon, and 2,000 king salmon are expected to return in 2018. NSRAA needs 190,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 403,000 chum salmon available for common property harvests. NSRAA does not intend to use a tax assessment on the common property harvest of chum salmon to satisfy cost recovery needs as provided under AS 16.10.455.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet

The Copper River did not open to commercial fishing on June 11 and 14.

The Coghill and Eshamy districts opened to commercial fishing for 24-hour periods beginning June 11 and 14.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 10. To date, 197,293 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site versus an anticipated range of 296,973-476,817 salmon.

With the Copper River District closed to commercial fishing, more drift gillnet fishing effort than normal for this time of year is occurring in the Eshamy and Coghill Districts.

Copper River District commercial sockeye salmon harvest to date is 26,000 fish, which is the second lowest harvest to date in the past 50 years. Coghill District chum salmon and Eshamy District sockeye salmon harvest is tracking ahead of anticipated at 143,300 chum and 65,300 sockeye salmon, respectively.

Copper River water levels are average for this date. This environmental factor is not likely delaying sockeye salmon run entry at this point in the season. To meter early sockeye salmon escapement into the river, the commercial fishery is anticipated to remain closed through Sunday, June 17. This will allow three weeks continued run entry between the last commercial opening and the next potential opening. Miles Lake sonar passage continues to be near the minimum daily and well below the cumulative inriver passage targets and, if this low level of abundance continues, it will likely remain a strong driving force in commercial fishery management decisions for the remainder of the upriver sockeye salmon run.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine

In the Southwestern District, the Armin F. Koernig (AFK) Hatchery Terminal Harvest Area (THA), and Special Harvest Area (SHA) opened to purse seine fishing for 48 hours at 8:00 am on Thursday, June 7 and Monday, June 11. The same area opened to fishing for 36 hours at 8:00 am on Thursday, June 14. A regular schedule of two fishing periods per week is anticipated to remain in effect until mid-June. A total of 450,000 chum salmon are forecast to return to AFK Hatchery. The historical run timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 - July 27.

In the Montague District, an area in the Port Chalmers Subdistrict opened to purse seine fishing for 48 hours beginning at 8:00 am on Thursday, June 7 and Monday, June 11. The same area opened for 36 hours beginning Thursday, June 14. A regular schedule of two fishing periods per week is anticipated to remain in effect until further notice. A total of 150,000 chum salmon are forecast to return to Port Chalmers. The historical run timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 - July 27.

The 2018 combined pink salmon forecast for Prince William Sound is 34.35 million fish, of which 28.31 million will be available for Commercial Common Property Fishery (CCPF) harvest. This pink salmon forecast includes 16.93 million Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) fish, 15.40 million Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) hatchery fish, and a CCPF forecast of 2.02 million wild fish. Approximately 3.03 million (18%) of the projected 16.93 million pink salmon run to VFDA's Solomon Gulch Hatchery will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock leaving 13.90 million for CCPF. Approximately 3.01 million (20%) of the projected 15.40 million pink salmon run to the PWSAC hatcheries will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock. The remaining 12.39 million PWSAC pink salmon will be available for common property harvest. The 2018 PWS wild pink salmon CCPF forecast is 2.02 million. The department will manage for each district's escapement aerial index goal for a cumulative SEG of 575,000-992,000.

The 2018 chum salmon forecast total run in PWS is 3.45 million fish. The majority, 3.06 million fish (89%), are from PWSAC hatchery production, with 450,000 fish returning to the AFK hatchery and 150,000 fish returning to Port Chalmers Subdistrict. The 2018 PWS wild chum salmon CCPF forecast is 391,000 fish. The department will manage for each district's escapement goal, aiming for each district's long-term average, for a combined total of 200,000 fish.

For the June 7, June 11, and June 14 fishing periods, fishing area in the Port Chalmers Subdistrict was restricted to waters within approximately 1 mile of shore in the vicinity of the hatchery remote release in order to further focus fishing effort on enhanced chum salmon returning to the subdistrict.

To date, 36,600 chum salmon have been harvested in the Southwestern District and 37,000 chum salmon have been harvested in the Port Chalmers Subdistrict.

Chum salmon grounds price is reported to be around $1.10 a pound and fishing effort in purse seine chum salmon fisheries is likely to continue to remain elevated, similar to last year, due to increased harvest value and strong forecasts.

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Bristol Bay

The 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run is forecasted to be approximately 51.3 million fish. Based

on the forecast and using the mid-points of the lower or upper portion of escapement goal ranges, depending on forecasted run size, 37.6 million fish are potentially available for commercial inshore harvest. The department manages fisheries based on inseason information regarding abundance. The inseason management approach uses a suite of tools to provide information on abundance in each district as each run develops and that information is used by the department to determine fishing opportunity.

The commercial salmon season in Bristol Bay opens June 1 by regulation. Fishing in eastside districts and Togiak will be allowed using a weekly schedule that will vary by district. The schedules are in place to balance fishing opportunity with escapement in the early part of the season, particularly for Chinook salmon. As each run develops and sockeye salmon run characteristics become defined within individual districts, fishing time will be adjusted accordingly. In the Nushagak District, management of the Chinook salmon fishery will govern fishing time in the early part of the season, followed by directed sockeye salmon management as abundance dictates.

Inseason Harvest Information

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)

There is one commercial salmon fishery currently underway in Upper Cook Inlet: the Big River Sockeye Salmon fishery which opened June 1 and occurs every Mon-Wed-Fri for 12 hour periods through June 24th. Next week, two additional fisheries open by regulation and include the Western Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery on June 18 and the Drift Gillnet Fishery on June 21. Set gillnetting in the Kasilof section of the East Side Set net fishery is not scheduled to open until Monday, June 25. However, there are provisions within the management plan that allow this fishery to open as early as June 20, but only if 50,000 sockeye salmon are in the Kasilof River by that time.

The Kasilof River sonar is expected to begin counting sockeye salmon on June 15th. The Kenai River sonar is expected to be in operation on July 1st.

Participation in the Big River Fishery continues to fall below average. Poor harvests and unfavorable winds continue across Cook Inlet.

Harvest levels are far below average in the Big River sockeye salmon commercial fishery. Approximately 314 king salmon and 3,018 sockeye salmon were harvested from the first six fishing periods. The 10-year average harvest in the first six openers is approximately 368 kings and 10,317 sockeye. The more recent 5-year average has a slightly smaller harvest then the 10-year average at approximately 297 kings and 7,400 sockeye. Harvest data from the fishing period on June 15 was not available at the time of this report.

On June 11, 2018, the sport fish division issued restrictions prohibiting the retention of early-run, tributary spawning king salmon in the Kenai River. King salmon runs in numerous Kenai Peninsula drainages in 2018 are below average. Consequently, restrictions in the harvest of king salmon were also enacted in the Kasilof River sport fishery. In Cook Inlet, to reduce the harvest of Kasilof River king salmon in the personal use gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof River, the number of hours this fishery is open each day is being reduced from 17 hours per day to 12 hours per day. If the Kenai River late run chinook salmon mirrors the early run in timing and strength, restrictions to the East Side Set Gillnet fishery in Upper Cook Inlet are to be expected.

General Information

The UCI commercial fisheries information line will again be available by calling (907) 262-9611. The most recent EO announcement is always available on the recorded message line and catch, escapement and test fishing information are included whenever possible. The same recording may be accessed at Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Webpage and clicking on the UCI Commercial Fisheries Information Recording player.

All EO announcements are also faxed or emailed to processors as quickly as possible and posted at Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Webpage. For very general information, we invite you to visit the Commercial Fisheries Webpage.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)

Cost recovery of returning Trail Lakes Hatchery sockeye salmon from the Bear Lake release began on May 27 and will conclude at 6:00 PM on Sunday, June 17. Commercial common property will follow on Monday, June 18. Commercial set gillnet harvest began in the Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet on June 1 with commercial purse seine opening  for commercial common property harvest in Kamishak Bay on that day as well.

The weir at Bear Creek in Resurrection Bay have been in operation for several weeks. Through June 6, a total of 13,283 sockeye salmon have been counted at the Bear Creek weir. This is close to the final goal of 13,970 fish. This goal is a combination of the maximum SEG (8,300) plus the CIAA broodstock goal for this species from Bear Lake.

Participation levels for lower Cook Inlet commercial set gillnet and purse seine fisheries are anticipated to remain similar to recent years.

Through June 14 the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) has harvested 125,000 sockeye salmon for cost recovery in Resurrection Bay. Last year through this date 18,000 fish had been harvested. CIAA’s preseason anticipates total return was 200,000 sockeye salmon returning to Resurrection Bay release sites in 2018.

In addition, commercial set gillnet opened on Friday, June 1 for a 24-hour fishing period followed by a 48-hour period on Monday, June 4. Combined harvest through Wednesday, June 13 was 28 Chinook, 828 sockeye, and 32 chum salmon. This is below the previous 5-year average of 159 Chinook, 5,154 sockeye, and 358 chum salmon.

Average weight of the sockeye salmon harvested in Resurrection Bay remains at approximately 3.6 pounds per fish and compares to an average weight of 4.9 pounds for fish landed before June 6 over the most recent 5 years. In addition, preliminary sampling may indicate that over 98% of the harvested fish are 4-year olds, (age 1.2). This may partially account for the smaller size in comparison to recent years where often 4-year olds make up under half of the final harvest, with the remainder being 5 and 6-year-old fish.

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Kodiak

Kodiak

The second commercial salmon fishing period began on June 14 on the Westside of Kodiak for 57-hours targeting Karluk early-run sockeye.

June 14 was also the first general 33-hour commercial salmon opening in the inner bays on the Westside, and the Northwest Afognak, Pauls and Perenosa Bay sections of the Afognak District, the Eastside Kodiak District, and the Outer Kukak and Big River sections of the Mainland District targeting Kodiak's early run chum and minor sockeye salmon stocks.

The Duck Bay, Izhut Bay, Inner Kitoi Bay, and Outer Kitoi Bay sections of the Afognak District remains open until further notice to target early-run hatchery chum salmon.

The Foul Bay and Waterfall Bay Special Harvest Areas remains open until further notice to commercial salmon fishing to target early-run hatchery sockeye.

The cumulative Karluk River early-run sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 was 136,585 fish, which is slightly above the desired escapement range for this date. Karluk River Chinook salmon escapement is within the desired range for this date. Beginning on June 9, non-retention of Chinook salmon was imposed on the commercial seine fleet area wide.

In the Southwest Kodiak District, the cumulative Ayakulik River early-run sockeye salmon escapement through June 15 was 59,949 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. No commercial salmon fishery is currently scheduled in the Inner and Outer Ayakulik sections. Ayakulik River Chinook salmon escapement is below the desired range for this date.

In the Alitak District, the cumulative Upper Station early-run sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 is approximately 30,218 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. The cumulative Frazer sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 is approximately 9,547 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. No commercial salmon fishery is currently scheduled in the Alitak District.

In the Afognak District, the cumulative Afognak Lake (Litnik) sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 is only 4,755 fish, which is below the desired escapement range for this date. No commercial salmon fisheries are scheduled in the Southeast Afognak Section of the Afognak District and both the sport and subsistence salmon fisheries closed at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 16.

In the Northeast Kodiak District, the cumulative Buskin Lake sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 is only 162 fish, which is below the desired escapement range for this date. No commercial salmon fisheries are scheduled in this district and both the sport and subsistence salmon fisheries closed at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 16.

In the Eastside Kodiak District, the cumulative Pasagshak Lake sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 is 1 fish, which is normal for this date. The cumulative Saltery Lake sockeye salmon escapement through June 14 is 4 fish, which is normal for this date.

There is currently little or no early information on sockeye runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Pasagshak, Miam, Uganik, Little River, Malina, Long Lagoon, Thorsheim, Perenosa Bay, Pauls Bay, Akalura, Horse Marine, and other minor sockeye salmon systems.

It is anticipated that approximately 170 seiners and 150 set gillnetters will participate.

Sockeye harvest from the first Westside opening was below both the 5 and 10-year average. Early chum harvest from the hatchery is average. Approximately 23,000 sockeye salmon have been harvested through June 14 which is well below average for this date. Approximately, 5,000 chum salmon have been harvested through June 14 which is also below average for this date.

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Kodiak Management Area webpage.

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula

The weekly fishing period in Nelson Lagoon is 2.5 days per week. No effort has occurred it the Bear River Section.

The Nelson, Bear, Sandy, and Ilnik rivers are all counting salmon currently. All counts are slow for this date and expected to increase in the next week.

The Nelson Lagoon commercial sockeye salmon harvests were about 1,000 sockeye salmon for the weekly fishing period by about 7 permit holders.

For further details please see the North Alaska Peninsula Salmon Management Plan, 2018 (PDF 2,672 kB)

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Alaska Peninsula Management Area webpage.

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

South Peninsula

The South Alaska Peninsula opened to commercial salmon fishing for the first time this season for set gillnet gear, the fishing period began at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7 and closed at 10:00 p.m. Sunday, June 10. This fishing period was 88-hours in length, followed by a closure of 32-hours. The fishery was reopened to set gillnet gear at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 12 and will close at 10:00 p.m. Friday, June 15.

The first scheduled fishing period for seine and drift gillnet gear opened at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 10 and closed at 10:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 13. This fishing period was 88-hours in length, followed by a closure of 32-hours. The fishery will reopen to seine and drift gillnet gear at 6:00 a.m. Friday, June 15 and will close at 10:00 p.m. Monday, June 18.

No aerial surveys have been flown yet on the South Alaska Peninsula, which is normal for this time of year. The Orzinski weir was completed on Sunday, June 10. No escapement has been recorded through Thursday, June 14. Typically, the escapement at the Orzinski weir is low for sockeye during this time of year. The 10-year average for cumulative sockeye escapement on June 14 at the Orzinski weir is five sockeye salmon. Currently it is too early to tell how the run of sockeye is trending at the Orzinski weir.

The overall participation in the commercial salmon fishery for the first week of fishing in the South Alaska Peninsula is slightly higher than in recent years. Based on the number of landings recorded so far this season.

The only allocative ties to another area in the South Alaska Peninsula is The Southeastern District Mainland Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 09.360).

The Southeastern District Mainland Salmon Management Plan is based off the Chignik Management Area (Area L) harvest. No commercial salmon fishing has occurred in the Chignik area at this time, so no fishing has occurred in the Southeastern District Mainland.

No harvest limits have been placed on the fishermen by the processors this season. The processing capacity of the processors has not become an issue this season.

As of June 14, a total of 2,221 Chinook, 303,285 sockeye, 28 coho, 47,538 pink, and 123,963 chums have been harvested in the South Alaska Peninsula of Area M. The sockeye harvest is slightly above the 10-year average of 300,407, but below the 5-year average of 355,487. The coho harvest this season is below both the 10 and 5-year averages of 168 and 296 respectively. The pink harvest is also below for both the 10 and 5-year averages of 78,504 and 103,050 respectively. The chum salmon harvest this season is above both of the 10 and 5-year averages of 105,154 and 102,948 respectively.

For more information please see South Alaska Peninsula Salmon Management Strategy, 2018 (PDF 3,457 kB).

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Alaska Peninsula Management Area webpage. For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

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Chignik

No commercial salmon fisheries have occurred or are scheduled to occur in Area L (Chignik) as of June 14th.

As of 10:00 a.m., June 15th, approximately 5,348 sockeye salmon have passed through the Chignik weir. This is well below escapement objectives and is a historical low escapement for the Chignik weir. At this time, it is difficult to tell if the run is weak or late. Aerial surveys of the lagoon have shown there is little to no buildup of sockeye in the Chignik Lagoon.

From June 1 until July 25th sockeye salmon harvested in the areas adjacent to the Chignik Management Area (CMA) are considered bound for Chignik. There has been no fishing periods scheduled yet in the Cape Igvak Section of area K, or in the Southeastern District Mainland (SEDM) of Area M.

For more information, please visit the Chignik Management Area webpage.

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

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Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim

Yukon River

The 2018 summer chum salmon run is projected to be 2.6 million fish with an estimated harvestable surplus of 1.4 million fish. As of June 13, 100,000 summer chum salmon have been counted at the sonar project near Pilot Station.

The Lower Yukon summer chum-directed commercial fishery began June 9 in District 1 and June 12 in District 2. Fishermen in both districts were required to use selective gear types (beach seines and dip nets) and release all incidentally caught Chinook salmon back to the water alive. Chinook salmon caught and released must be recorded on a fish ticket.

From June 9 to June 13, four 12-hour commercial periods occurred in District 1 with a preliminary harvest of 11,565 summer chum and 536 Chinook salmon released alive.

From June 12 to June 13, one 12-hour commercial period occurred in District 2 with a preliminary harvest of 2,786 summer chum and 43 Chinook salmon released alive.

2018 Run and Harvest Outlook for Yukon River Salmon

Chinook Summer Chum Fall Chum Coho
Projection: Below Average Above average Above average Average
Escapement: Potential to meet goals Expect to meet goals Expect to meet goals Expect to meet goal
Subsistence: Some restrictions Expect to provide for normal harvest Expect to provide for normal harvest Expect to provide for normal harvest
Commercial: No directed fishery Up to 1.4 million available Up to 1.2 million available 60,000 to 200,000 potentially available

For more information please read the 2018 Yukon River Salmon Fisheries Outlook (PDF 227 kB).

Kuskokwim River

The 2018 Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon forecast is for a range of 116,000-150,000 fish. The drainage-wide Chinook salmon escapement goal is 65,000-120,000. If the run comes back as projected, the drainage-wide escapement goal is expected to be achieved and may be able to support a limited subsistence harvest. The 2018 season will be managed in accordance with the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 07.365). It is the department’s intent to take a cautionary approach during the early part of the season, with fishing opportunities being based on inseason run assessment and input from the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group.

For more information please see: Kuskokwim River Subsistence Fishery Outlook and Fishing Restrictions (PDF 123 kB)

Norton Sound

Salmon outlooks and harvest projections for the Norton Sound 2018 salmon season are based on qualitative assessments of parent-year escapements, sibling relationships, subjective determinations of 2 freshwater overwintering and ocean survival, and in the case of the commercial fishery, the projections of local market conditions. In last year's commercial fishery there was a record coho salmon harvest and the highest chum salmon harvest since 1983. The department expects similar coho and chum salmon run strengths in 2018, but the Chinook salmon run will likely be weak again and no commercial fishing targeting Chinook salmon is expected in Norton Sound. Additional subsistence restrictions for Chinook salmon are expected in southern Norton Sound. Sales of incidentally harvested Chinook salmon will not be allowed in Subdistricts 5 and 6 until late July or early August because of subsistence fishing restrictions starting in June. Elsewhere, incidentally caught Chinook salmon in commercial fisheries will be allowed to be sold. Chum salmon runs are expected to be above average and the harvest is expected to be 150,000 to 200,000 fish. The department expects the pink salmon run to be above average for an even-numbered year, but harvest will depend on buyer interest and could range from 25,000 to 75,000 fish. No pink salmon directed fishing periods would be expected because of buyer interest in more valuable salmon species and the pink salmon harvest would likely be an incidental harvest only. However, the department does have the authority to increase fishing net aggregate length from 100 fathoms to 200 fathoms if there were a pink salmon directed fishery. Also, in June, a seine fishery targeting pink and chum salmon in Subdistricts 5 and 6 could occur with the requirement that Chinook salmon be returned to the water unharmed and in that case the pink salmon harvest may exceed 200,000 pink salmon. The coho salmon run is expected to be well above average based on ocean survival conditions in recent years. The commercial harvest is expected to be 170,000 to 220,000 fish. In the Port Clarence District the department expects the commercial fishery to remain closed because of a lack of buyer interest despite the in-river goal of 30,000 sockeye salmon at Pilgrim River expected to be reached. Subsistence fishing closures in the Pilgrim River are not expected, but the department will limit sockeye salmon subsistence harvest to 25 fish initially and will increase or waive the limit if the run is similar to the last several years. For more information please see the 2018 Norton Sound Salmon Management Plan (PDF 393 kB).

Kotzebue

In Kotzebue the first opener is expected on July 10. The outlook for the 2018 season is based on the parent-year escapements and returning age classes observed in the commercial fishery and in the test fish samples from the Kobuk River last year. The commercial harvest is expected to fall within the range of 400,000 to 600,000 chum salmon, but there is the possibility of record harvest of nearly 700,00 chum salmon if market conditions can accept that level of harvest. Two major buyers are expected in July and a minor buyer has expressed interest in buying fish in August. For more information please see the 2018 Kotzebue Salmon Management Plan (PDF 161 kB)

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