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2015 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.

Updated Friday, July 31, 2015

Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery
Regional power troll coho catch rates for the current week are 121/day, with the highest catch rates in the Southern Outside and Central Inside areas. Through July 29, the seasonal average weight of coho is 5.6 lbs, which is below the 2014 average of 5.8, but above the 5-year and 10-year averages of 5.5 lbs.  The average price is currently $.81/lb and the cumulative catch since July 1 is just over 397,000. A news release concerning the assessment of the coho salmon run strength, along with the length of a conservation closure, if needed, will be issued no later than August 7.

A portion of the troll fleet has been targeting chum salmon returning to the Neets Bay hatchery in West Behm Canal. A recent report indicates a harvest of approximately 123,000 chum salmon since early July. Effort has declined during the current week, with 20 trollers fishing in the area on July 29. Trollers have an average chum catch/landing of 50-100 fish, at an average weight of just over 10 pounds and average price of $0.50. 

The 2015 Summer Troll Management Plans as well as inseason catch and effort data for summer is available on the Southeast troll website

Purse Seine Fishery
The 2015 Southeast Alaska common property purse seine fishery is now in its sixth week. Regional cumulative harvest estimates for purse seine gear as of July 30 are 7.2 million pink and 2.3 million chum salmon. During statistical week 31, fishing occurred on July 26 and a mid-week seine opening occurred on July 30-31. Harvest for the fishing period on July 26 was 2.5 million salmon including 2.2 million pink and 200,000 chum salmon.

Seine effort during the July 26 fishing period included 43 boats in District 1, 40 in District 4, 38 at West Admiralty, 38 at Point Augusta/Whitestone, 24 in District 2, 23 in Section 9-B, and 21 in Section 13-A. The largest harvests occurred at Point Augusta/Whitestone with 547,000 salmon harvested, West Admiralty with 423,000, District 4 with 320,000, Section 9-B with 301,000, District 1 with 261,000, and Section 13-A with 209,000 salmon harvested. Pink salmon harvest per boat was highest in Point Augusta/Whitestone with 14,100 fish, Section 9-B with 12,400, West Admiralty with 10,700, and Section 13-A with 9,600 fish per boat. Chum salmon harvest per boat was highest in Deep Inlet THA with 3,800 fish, District 2 with 1,900 fish, and District 1 with 1,700 fish per boat.

The mid-week seine opening on July 30-31 includes portions of Districts 1–4 and 9–14.

Drift Gillnet Fishery
Traditional Southeast area drift gillnet fisheries occur in Districts 1, 6, 8, 11, and 15.

Tree Point/Section 1-B
The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery was open four days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, July 26, 2015. The effort level of 40 was just below the 10-year average of 43 vessels. The total harvest was below average for all species except chum salmon. Total estimate for weekly harvest is 40 Chinook, 2,000 sockeye, 660 coho, 25,000 pink, and 70,000 chum salmon. The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery is currently being managed according to the District 1 pink salmon management plan (5 AAC 33.360). It is anticipated that the purse seine gear group will receive two days of fishing time in Statistical Week 32, so the Tree Point gillnet fishery will be open for four days initially, beginning at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, August 2, 2015.

The following information about the Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, and Kendrick Bay terminal harvest areas (THA) is estimated through Statistical Week 30. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA)contributions and updates visit their website at http://www.ssraa.org/  

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8
Districts 6 and 8 were opened to commercial gillnet fishing for a 72-hour period beginning Sunday, July 26. On the grounds surveys of the gillnet fleet indicated well above average sockeye salmon catch rates in District 6 and below average effort and sockeye salmon catch rates in District 8. District 8 reopened for a 24-hour mid-week opening Thursday, July 23, to harvest excess Stikine River sockeye salmon indicated by inseason assessment of harvest and escapement. Both districts will transition from sockeye management to pink salmon abundance starting August 2. Pink salmon catch rates were above average this past week in District 6, suggesting there is good pink salmon abundance in the area. Both districts will open for a 72-hour period beginning Sunday, July 27.

The most recent Stikine River sockeye run size estimate is 172,600 fish, above the 171,200 fish forecast. The last inseason assessment for Stikine River king salmon made on July 10 was for a terminal run size of 29,333 with escapement within the escapement goal range of 14,000 to 28,000 fish.  

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B
District 11 was open for a total of five days this week with a two-day extension announced on top of the three-day original opening. Total effort was approximately half the recent ten-year average of 103 boats and challenging marine weather conditions in the first couple days of the opening further reduced fishing time. The vast majority of boats fished north of Circle Point in waters with no mesh restriction in order to more efficiently target the smaller enhanced chum salmon returning to local release sites.

Chum salmon catch rates dropped precipitously this week which is normal for this time of year. Sockeye salmon catch rates were near average with a large range in reported sizes of individual fish. The most recent Taku River sockeye salmon run size estimate projects current escapement upstream of inriver fisheries to be above the upper end of the goal range. In other words, it appears the escapement target has already been achieved with a couple more weeks of sockeye salmon management openings ahead. Otolith analyses from port sampling efforts show that enhanced Snettisham sockeye salmon made up approximately 11% of the harvest north of Circle Point this week.

The next question on fishermen's minds is: When will Port Snettisham open in order to target enhanced sockeye salmon? Currently, 300 sockeye salmon have been counted through the Speel Lake weir which is below the long-term average of over 500 fish at this point in time. Furthermore, the Taku River, Chilkoot River, and even Auke Creek sockeye salmon runs have been on the late side this season and it would not be too far-fetched to assume the enhanced Snettisham fish might mirror this trend.

District 11 will open for four days next week in both Sections 11-B and 11-C. The six-inch minimum mesh restriction south of Circle Point will remain in place, and Port Snettisham will remain closed, to conserve wild Port Snettisham sockeye salmon returns until it is apparent that fish abundance has increased in Speel and Crescent lakes.

Lynn Canal/District 15
Harvests in week 31 included 20,000 sockeye, 400 coho, 30,000 pink and 40,000 chum salmon.  Harvests of sockeye, coho and pink salmon were above average and below average for chum salmon.  Time and area restrictions are in place to harvest good returns of Chilkoot and Chilkat sockeye salmon and hatchery chum salmon in 15-C.

The current Chilkoot Lake sockeye salmon weir count is approximately 33,000 fish. This count is near the recent 10-year average of 37,000 fish. Based on normal run timing, with approximately 46% of the escapement through the weir, final escapement is projected to be well within the escapement goal range of 38,000 to 86,000 fish. Fish wheel catches of sockeye salmon continue to be at record levels for this time. Stock compositions are indicating that Chilkat mainstem sockeye salmon are dominating the fish wheel catch.  The current escapement into Chilkat Lake of 21,000 fish is above the long term historical average and near the short term average.  With approximately 25% of the run through the weir, projections for final escapement are within the escapement goal range of 70,000 to 150,000 fish. With projections for Chilkoot Lake sockeye salmon escapement well within goal ranges, and continued high Chilkat River fish wheel catches for sockeye salmon, Section 15-A will start with three days in all areas south of the tank farm line in Chilkoot Inlet and Letnikof Point in Chilkat Inlet to harvest Chilkat Lake and mainstem sockeye salmon. All of 15-C will also start for 3-days with the exception of an area within two nautical miles of the western shoreline of Lynn Canal between Danger Point and Sherman Rock will be closed. The Boat Harbor Terminal Harvest Area (THA) will open until further notice.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery
In the Alsek River, nine permits harvested 2,000 sockeye salmon. Fishery performance was well above average, and the fishing period was extended by two days.  Nine permits harvested 650 sockeye salmon in the East River. In the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 52 permits harvested 5,750 sockeye and 8,500 pink salmon. In Yakutat Bay, six permits harvested 500 sockeye and 1,400 pink salmon. Fewer than three permits fished both the Dangerous and Akwe rivers, and harvest information is confidential. The Manby Shore outside and inside waters were open, but not fished this week. The Italio River systems may open by emergency order when escapement counts have been observed. Pink salmon will dominate the harvest for most fisheries for the next week or two.  Next week marks the beginning of fall fishing time. The Yakataga District will open for coho salmon, and most systems in the Yakutat Area will switch to coho salmon management strategies by the following week.

There have been 80,000 sockeye salmon that have passed by the Situk River weir, and the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) for sockeye salmon has been attained. Only 170 large Chinook salmon have passed the weir and it now appears the Chinook salmon BEG will not be attained.  The Canadian weir on the Klukshu River is now operational. The BEG for Chinook salmon will be attained, while it is still too early for sockeye salmon counts to be meaningful.  

Terminal Harvest Area 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.

 The following information about the Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, and Kendrick Bay terminal harvest areas (THA) is estimated through Statistical Week 31. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association  (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

Nakat Inlet THA
The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 220,000 and for fall chum salmon is 75,000. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Monday, June 1, 2015. The current harvest for Nakat Inlet chum salmon is approximately 261,000, or 119% of the forecast, for all gear groups. The total includes 36,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 90,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery in addition to the 135,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

Neets Bay THA
The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,180,000, for fall chum salmon is 210,000, for Chinook salmon is 21,500, and for coho salmon is 340,000. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by Drift Gillnet and Purse Seine on Friday, May 1, and closed on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 for the purpose of cost recovery. The current harvest for Neets Bay salmon is approximately 745,000 chum salmon and 9,500 Chinook salmon. The total includes 172,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 77,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear and 62,000 chum salmon harvested by the troll fleet in the traditional fishery.  49,000 and 42,500 chum salmon were harvested by the purse seine gear group and troll fleet inside the Neets Bay THA.  Additionally, 277,000 chum salmon have been harvested for cost-recovery and 64,000 secured for broodstock by the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA)

Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 745,000. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Monday, June 15, 2014. The current harvest for Kendrick Bay chum salmon is approximately 682,000, or 92% of the forecast, for all gear groups. The total includes 489,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 57,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery in addition to the 135,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

Anita Bay THA
Anita Bay forecast includes 370,000 summer chum and 47,000 coho salmon for 2015 with a reported harvest of 52,000 chum and 8,000 king salmon to date. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

Deep Inlet THA
The Deep Inlet THA rotational fisheries began May 31.  Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,336,000 chum salmon, 27,500 king salmon, and 18,000 coho salmon.  This season Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) does not anticipate closing the Deep Inlet rotational fishery for cost recovery harvest. On July 26, 6 seiners harvested approximately 23,000 chum salmon.  On July 27-28, 31 gillnetters harvested approximately 13,000 chum salmon.  To date, 615,000 chum salmon have been harvested in the Deep Inlet THA fisheries.

Hidden Falls THA
No cost recovery will occur at Hidden Falls this season. The first common property purse seine opening in the Hidden Falls THA occurred on June 21 with 15-hour openings expected to occur Sundays and Thursdays of each week during the early season.  Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 1,031,000 chum salmon, 5,400 king salmon, and 187,000 coho salmon.  The return of chum salmon has come in well below expectations and on June 28, Hidden Falls closed and remains closed at this time.  NSRAA needs approximately 180,000 chum salmon for broodstock. Seiners harvested approximately 35,000 chum salmon during common property openings.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet
The Copper River District was opened to commercial fishing for a 36-hour fishing periods on July 23 and July 27. These were fishing periods 22 and 23 of the 2015 season. The next opening for the Copper River District is scheduled for 36 hours starting at 7:00 am on Thursday, July 30. The Coghill District opened to commercial drift gillnet harvest for a 14-hour period starting at 6:00 am on Thursday, July 23 and a 14-hour period on Monday, July 27. The Montague District opened to commercial drift gillnet harvest for an 84-hour period starting at 8:00 am on Thursday, July 23 and a 72-hour period on Monday, July 27. The Eshamy District opened to commercial gillnet harvest for a 60-hour period starting on Thursday, July 23 and a 60-hour period starting on Monday, July 27. The Unakwik District opened to commercial drift gillnet harvest for a 36-hour periods on Thursday, July 23.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 8 and ended on July 28. A total of 1.35 million salmon were enumerated at the sonar site. Escapement monitoring at the Coghill River weir started on June 10 and ended on July 26. A total of 13,584 sockeye salmon were enumerated at the weir versus an SEG lower bound of 20,000 fish.

Currently there are an estimated 100 drift gillnet permits participating in the Copper River District fishery. There are estimated to be 100 drift gillnet boats fishing in the Coghill and Eshamy District fisheries and 10 set gillnet permits participating in the Eshamy District fishery. Processing capacity and market demand have resulted in limited markets for gillnet caught salmon in western PWS. Waters of the Chinook salmon closure area as defined in 5AAC 24.350(1)(A) were open during the Thursday and Monday periods this past week.

The Copper River District harvest estimate from the Thursday, July 23 36-hour period was 23,900 sockeye and 0 Chinook salmon. The harvest estimate from the Monday, July 27 36-hour period was 28,400 sockeye, 26,900 pink, and 1 Chinook salmon. The anticipated harvest for the first opening was 31,000 sockeye salmon and for the second opening 29,300 sockeye salmon. The Chinook salmon anticipated harvest for the first opening was 2 fish and for second opening was 1 fish. To date, the cumulative Copper River District harvest is 1.48 million sockeye and 22,800 Chinook salmon. The 5-year cumulative harvest averages for the July 23 and July 27 harvest dates are 1.80 million and 1.81 million sockeye salmon and 11,800 and 11,800 Chinook salmon, respectively. Commercial gillnet harvest in the Eshamy, Montague, and Coghill districts is currently below historical cumulative average harvest.

Processor participation in the Eshamy District drift and set gillnet fishery is minimal due in part to high volume pink salmon fisheries elsewhere in PWS.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine
Portions of eastern Prince William Sound (PWS) have been opened to daily commercial fishing periods since Wednesday, July 8. Daily fishing opportunity targeting the Solomon Gulch Hatchery (SGH) pink salmon run in eastern PWS will continue to be provided until further notice.

Commercial fishing opportunity was also provided in limited area in western PWS on Monday, July 27, Thursday, July 30, and Saturday, August 1.

Aerial surveys throughout PWS indicate that wild pink salmon returns are greater than anticipated; chum salmon escapements are within anticipated ranges.

Fishery performance indicators, including daily harvest totals, sex ratios, and otolith contribution estimates, suggest that run entry remains for the 2015 Solomon Gulch Hatchery pink salmon run, and that pink salmon are returning to the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) hatcheries in increasing numbers.

Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) began its cost recovery sales program on Tuesday, June 30, and reached its cost recovery goal on July 24. VFDA reports that they have secured sufficient broodstock at SGH, and has recommended continued fishing opportunity in Port Valdez and Valdez Arm.

The PWSAC began its pink salmon cost recovery program on July 25, and has collected approximately 40% of the assigned pink salmon revenue goal through July 30.

It is estimated that approximately 205 purse seine permit holders are currently participating in the PWS purse seine fishery.

The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest through July 30 is estimated at 46.8 million CPF and 3 million cost recovery fish (VFDA and PWSAC), for a total of 49.8 million fish; this is a record cumulative total for the date.

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Bristol Bay

Nushagak
Fishing continuously but effort down to maybe one direct marketer. Counting is done .Effort is low, only 1 drift delivery on July 29.  Harvest is 5.4  million sockeye salmon. Fishing is open but there is no market at this time. There does not appear to be any interest in coho fishing. That may change.

Togiak
Commercial fishing was extended in the Togiak River Section from Friday until Sunday morning. Cumulative escapement to the Togiak River is 144,000 sockeye salmon through July 29, above the lower end of the escapement goal. Cumulative harvest is 236,000. Catches were a little stronger this week; the run appears to be late like other Bristol Bay systems. The preseason forecast of a 610,000 total run may yet be realized. Board of Fisheries action on July 24 extended the date at which permit holders may fish in Togiak District if they have fished in other districts to 9:00 a.m. August 5.

Egegik
In Egegik- through July 23-cumulative harvest is 8.2 million sockeye, cumulative escapement is 2.09 million sockeye and slightly above the escapement goal range. The commercial fishery is being managed to allow for the harvest of fish surplus to escapement needs.

The last update for the season was July 24th.

Ugashik
In Ugashik- through July 23- cumulative harvest is 5.2 million sockeye, cumulative escapement is 1.3 million sockeye and within the escapement goal range. The commercial fishery is being managed to allow for harvest of fish surplus to escapement needs.

The last update for the season was July 24th.

Naknek-Kvichak
In the Naknek-Kvichak District, the last day of tower operations on the Naknek River was July 22. The final cumulative escapement was 1.92 million sockeye. The Kvichak River tower will operate through July 25. The cumulative escapement through July 23 was 7.23 million sockeye salmon. Escapements on both river systems are within their respective escapement goal ranges. Cumulative harvest was 15.7 million fish. Since July 17, both drift and set gillnet fishing has been open to continuous fishing and will remain so until 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 27 when the fall fishing schedule of 9:00 a.m. Mondays to 9:00 a.m. Fridays goes into effect.

The last update for the season was July 24th.

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)
Currently in Upper Cook Inlet there are multiple commercial fisheries underway

  1. Northern District set gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays– 12 hour periods.
  2. Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery: Beginning July 25 the fishery will be open for Monday and Thursday regular periods and up to 51 hours per week by emergency order.
  3. Western, Kustatan, and Kalgin Island Subdistrict set gillnet fisheries: Mondays and Thursdays –12 hour periods.  The Western Subdistrict south of Redoubt Point is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 6am until 10pm.
  4. Central District drift gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays– 12 hour periods and additional hours by emergency order.

The Kasilof River sockeye salmon enumeration project began on June 15.  The cumulative sockeye salmon passage through July 29 is 401,000 fish. This level of passage exceeds the BEG of 160,000–340,000 fish.

The Kenai River sockeye salmon enumeration project began on July 1.  The cumulative sockeye salmon passage through July 29 is 833,000 fish.

Participation in the commercial fisheries that are open in Upper Cook Inlet is about normal.  It is expected that participation in the drift gillnet fishery will begin to decline.

In the Western Subdistrict, approximately 170 king salmon and 28,533 sockeye salmon have been harvested since the June 18 opening.

Harvest in the Kalgin Island and Kustatan Subdistricts since the 25 June season opening is approximately 23,055 sockeye salmon and 33 king salmon.

Since the June 25 regular season opening, harvest in the Northern District has totaled approximately 36,763 sockeye salmon and 308 king salmon.

The Central District drift gillnet fishery has harvested 447 king salmon and 666,838 sockeye salmon since the season opener on June 22. This includes 81 king salmon and 26,592 sockeye salmon harvested from the Kasilof River Special Harvest Area (KRSHA).

Harvest in the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery through July 22 is 5,538 king salmon and 1,077,290 sockeye salmon. This includes 303 king salmon and 90,042 sockeye salmon harvested from the KRSHA.

On July 28, 2015, Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) Commercial Fisheries staff estimated the total Kenai River sockeye salmon run to date to be 2.0 million fish.  The final run to the Kenai River is projected to range from 2.3 million to 3.5 million sockeye salmon.

The entire UCI sockeye salmon run to date was estimated to be 3.7 million fish through July 27, with a final run projected to range from 4.2 million to 5.9 million fish. 

With this inseason assessment, management of the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet and Central District drift gillnet commercial fisheries remain under the guidelines for run sizes of 2.3 million to 4.6 million Kenai River sockeye salmon.  Based on this projected run size, the Kenai River sockeye salmon inriver goal remains at 1.0 million to 1.2 million fish.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)
The Lower Cook Inlet purse seine fleet is on a regular schedule of commercial fishing periods in 3 of the 4 districts in this area. Commercial seine harvest in the Southern District is on a M-F schedule of 16-hour fishing periods targeting both wild stock as well as enhanced returns to Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association release sites. Commercial set gillnet is on a schedule of Monday and Thursday 48-hour fishing periods with the English Bay section remaining closed due to low escapement numbers at the weir on the English Bay River. Purse seine fishing harvest opportunity was increased beginning August 3 to a Nonday – Friday schedule of 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM fishing periods in portions of the Outer District.

In Kamishak Bay, all districts with the exception of the Paint and McNeil districts and the Kirschner Lake special harvest area are open seven days a week.

Escapement levels of sockeye salmon to systems in Lower Cook Inlet has been modest to fair with returns to the English Bay River generally remaining in the lower end of the SEG with no directed commercial fishing pressure on this stock. Aerial surveys of sockeye salmon escapement to Delight and Delight lakes have been conducted with only modest success due to poor flying conditions. Chum salmon escapement across lower Cook Inlet have generally been very good to excellent with directed harvests occurring at several locations, as well as steady harvests by set gillnet permit holders that are more than triple the previous 5-year harvest average. Preliminary pink salmon escapement estimates also appear to be robust; generally tracking levels observed in the parent year, 2013 which was a record year for commercial harvest in the Outer District.

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

In general harvest levels of all salmon species with the exception of sockeye are above recent 5-year harvest averages. Sockeye salmon runs to both hatchery release sites, as well as wild spawning systems appear to be generally fair to modest. While there is a significant harvestable surplus of pink and chum salmon in the Outer District, harvest in the Outer District (and Kamishak Bay) is currently limited by tender availability.

Several hundred chum salmon have been observed in the Paint River system above the Paint River fish ladder. These are wild fish that have swam up the fish ladder. Since the ladders construction in the early 1990s, pink and sockeye salmon juveniles have been released in the Paint River system above the ladder. However, adult returns from these releases never warranted opening the ladder to returning adults. Beginning in 2011, the ladder was opened seasonally to allow natural colonization by salmon of this watershed.

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Kodiak

A 72-hour extension to the commercial salmon fishing period occurred in portions of the Southwest Kodiak District, the Alitak District, the Northwest Kodiak District, the Afognak District, the Northeast Kodiak District, and the Eastside Kodiak district from 9:00 p.m. July 26, to 9:00 p.m. July 29.

A 57-hour commercial salmon fishing period occurred from noon July 27, to 9:00 p.m. July 29 in the Mainland District.

A 72-hour extension to the commercial salmon fishing period began at 9:00 p.m. July 29 for portions of the Southwest Kodiak and Alitak districts.

A 57-hour commercial salmon fishing period opened at noon July 30 for Outer Ayakulik and Halibut Bay sections of the Southwest Kodiak District.

The Duck Bay and Izhut Bay sections of the Afognak District closed to commercial salmon fishing at 9:00 p.m. July 29.

Cost recovery fisheries are scheduled to begin in the Kitoi Bay Special Harvest Area on July 31.

The cumulative Karluk River sockeye salmon escapement through July 30 is approximately 287,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. Karluk River Chinook salmon escapement is below average and non-retention of Chinook salmon has been imposed on the commercial seine fleet.

The cumulative Ayakulik River sockeye salmon escapement through July 30 is approximately 255,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date.  Ayakulik River Chinook salmon escapement is below average.

In the Alitak District, sockeye salmon escapement to Upper Station is approximately 58,000 fish through July 30, which is within the desired escapement range for this date.  Sockeye salmon escapement into Dog Salmon is strong with over 223,000 fish counted to date.

Afognak River sockeye salmon runs are tracking within the desired escapement ranges for this date with approximately 36,000 fish counted. 

Buskin River sockeye salmon escapement is tracking within the desired escapement range with 7,808 counted through the weir.

The Saltery Creek sockeye salmon run is within the desired escapement range for this date with 34,657 fish counted. 

There is little or no early information on sockeye runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Uganik, Little River, Long Lagoon, Thorsheim, Pauls, Perenosa Bay, and other minor sockeye systems.

Both purse seine and gillnet participation are normal for this date when compared to recent years.

Kodiak Management Area sockeye salmon harvests are near the recent 10 and 5-year averages with 1,798,634 fish harvested to date.  Pink salmon harvests are above average with 5,695,126 harvested to date.

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula
Extensive fishing has occurred in the Nelson Lagoon Section for sockeye salmon this season. The run is winding down and soon will shift to coho salmon management. Continuous fishing is occurring in the Port Moller Bight, Bear River, and Three Hills sections. The Ilnik Section from July 21 to August 15 is being managed on the basis of Bear River sockeye salmon until mid-August when management switches to coho salmon. The Outer Port Heiden Section is closed to commercial salmon fishing by regulation on July 31. 

Ilnik River weir was pulled for the season on July 19 with 25,000 sockeye salmon, and the season ending goal of 40,000-60,000 was not met. The Ilnik Section was open to commercial salmon fishing only one fishing period from June 24-27 when interim escapement objectives were being met, but it appeared that there were some red colored sockeye salmon unexpectedly milling in saltwater for 1-2 weeks and were caught during the fishery. It is likely that these were bound for Ilnik River as the reports from the fleet and industry that these colored up fish were not found in other North Peninsula fisheries except those in and around the southern part of the Ilnik Section.  The Ocean River, a tributary of the Ilnik River system, is flowing directly into Ilnik River this year and this may have added to the confusion for the fish. Some years it empties directly into the Bering Sea. Through July 28, Bear River passed a total of 289,000 sockeye salmon through the weir and has met all interim objectives to date. The July 31 early sockeye salmon escapement goal is 176,000-293,000 sockeye salmon has been met. Poor weather limited fishing some days over the past week and helped increase daily weir counts at Bear River. Weir counts at Bear River continue to be strong for this date. The Sandy River weir was removed for the season as scheduled on July 22 with over 104,000 sockeye salmon. The escapement at Sandy River was the third best on record and the fourth time in the last 20 years that the escapement has exceeded 100,000 sockeye salmon. The Nelson River weir escapement was 240,000 sockeye salmon through July 24 and the weir has been removed as scheduled.  The July 25 season ending escapement goal of 97,000-219,000 has been exceeded.  An aerial survey of Meshik River on July 9 showed 64,000 sockeye salmon in the lower river, meeting the escapement goal of 25,000-100,000 and more fish still entering the river. Final aerial survey of the Meshik River will occur when fish are on the spawning grounds in the coming weeks.

The Nelson Lagoon commercial sockeye salmon harvests have been holding steady with about 23 permit holders participating and about 7,000-10,000 sockeye salmon a day being harvested. About 75 boats are participating in other fisheries on the North Peninsula and the harvest has averaged about 35,000 sockeye salmon per day. The total North Alaska Peninsula harvest is about 2.2 million sockeye salmon and the preseason forecast was 2.0 million harvested through mid September and has been exceeded. Processors in the area have recently lifted the harvest limits that were in effect during the peak of the fisheries. The late Bear River sockeye salmon run that begins August 1 and goes to mid September and the forecast is 505,000 sockeye salmon.
Harvest levels for this date are decreasing as expected in the Nelson Lagoon Section with a total sockeye salmon harvest of 275,000 for the season. The run is above forecast at this time. The peak harvest occurred in the Bear River, Three Hills, and Outer Port Heiden sections combined with 155,000 sockeye salmon on July 8. About 890,000 sockeye salmon have been harvested in the Outer Port Heiden Section this season to date.

Harvest limits were in place for during the peak sockeye salmon runs.  Poor weather has limited some fishing activity over the past week.

South Peninsula
Commercial salmon fishing in the South Alaska Peninsula occurred from 6:00 AM Sunday, July 26 through 6:00 PM Monday, July 27 and again from 6:00 AM Thursday, July 30 through 6:00 PM Thursday, July 31 in the Unimak, Southwestern, and South Central districts, as well as the Shumagin Islands Section of the Southeastern District.       

Commercial salmon fishing occurred in the Northwest Stepovak Section of the Southeastern District from 6:00 PM Friday, July 24 and remained open until 11:59 PM Saturday, July 25. Commercial salmon fishing in Orzinski Bay of the Northwest Stepovak Section was extended until further notice. Closed waters of Orzinski Bay were reduced to the stream mouth beginning at 9:30 AM Tuesday, July 28.

The Orzinski Lake weir has passed 21,124 sockeye, 344 pink, and 6 chum salmon as of July 30.  The McLees Lake weir was removed on July 27 and passed 20,284 sockeye and 13 pink salmon through the weir during the 2015 season.  

Aerial surveys indicate that lower bound of the area wide aggregate pink salmon goal for odd years (1.6–3.2M) has been met.  Chum salmon returns in the majority South Alaska Peninsula systems are on track to meet their respective escapement goals.  Escapements into Southeastern District Mainland systems are progressing slowly, buildups of fish are present on the beaches and creek mouths, but aerial surveys indicate that escapement into these systems is not adequate to justify commercial fishing opportunity at this time.

Participation in the fishery so far is consistent with participation in previous years.

Harvest so far is above average at this point in the season. As of July 29, 49,488 Chinook, 2,440,564 sockeye, 192,449 coho, 3,231,602 pink, and 369,470 chum salmon have been harvested in the South Peninsula commercial salmon fishery.

Recent large harvests of sockeye and pink salmon in the South Peninsula commercial salmon fishery has forced some fish processing facilities to put harvest limits on some of the commercial salmon fishing fleet. During some of the recent commercial fishery openings, commercial fisherman did not participate due to lack of processor availability. 

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Chignik

The Chignik Bay, Central, Western and Perryville districts opened to commercial salmon fishing at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 29 until 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 31.  No extensions are planned at this time.

Through noon Thursday July 30, approximately 687,000 sockeye have passed the Chignik River weir. Genetic sampling has occurred 6 times over the season since June 26. After applying the most recent genetic information the early run has been proportioned an escapement of 534,000 which exceeds the upper goal of the early run interim escapement goal of 450,000 for July 30.  The late run has been proportioned an escapement of 152,000 meeting the interim escapement goals of 151,000-284,000 for July 30. It is too early to tell the strength of the late run, but the run appears to be coming in later than the previous five years according to our genetic information.

The genetic stock composition estimate for sockeye salmon  passing the Chignik River weir on July 25 was 38.33% early run and 61.7% late run.

Participation has been similar to past years with approximately 65 permits making deliveries in 2015.

From June 1 until July 25 sockeye salmon harvested in areas adjacent to the CMA are considered bound for Chignik. Through July 25, approximately 128,400 sockeye salmon have been harvested in the Cape Igvak Section of Area K or the Southeastern District Mainland (SEDM) of Area M. The Cape Igvak and Southeastern District Mainland (SEDM) sockeye harvest allocation percentages are currently at 0.59% and 9.76% respectively.

For the week of July 24 through July 30, approximately 76 Chinook, 102,315 sockeye, 4,775 coho, 80,685 pink and 5,800 chum salmon were harvested. The majority of the fishing effort has been in the Chignik Bay, Central and Western districts.

A total of 1,015,534 sockeye salmon have been harvested in the CMA this season.

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Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim

Yukon River
The fall chum salmon commercial fishery started in the lower Yukon River on July 20. There has been three 6-hour periods in District 1 and two 4-hour periods in District 2 with gillnets restricted to 6-inch or smaller mesh size. Preliminary commercial harvest in District 1 as of July 29 is 15,863 fall chum salmon and 685 coho salmon sold. Preliminary commercial harvest in District 2 as of July 29 is 10,379 fall chum salmon and 69 coho salmon sold. The combined commercial harvest in District 1 and 2 as of July 23 is 26,242 fall chum salmon and 754 coho salmon.

The summer chum salmon commercial fishery ended in the lower Yukon River on July 18. The combined District 1 and 2 harvest was 354,086 summer chum salmon; 9,513 Chinook salmon caught and released alive; and 3,240 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use.

The summer chum salmon commercial fishery in District 6 began on July 13 with live-release fish wheels only. As of July 24, commercial fishermen were able to use six-inch or smaller mesh size gillnets and retain Chinook salmon from fish wheels. The preliminary harvest in District 6 as of July 26 is 3,505 summer chum salmon, 347 Chinook salmon released alive, 46 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use, and two sheefish retained for subsistence use. Another commercial fishing period will open July 31 in District 6.

Kuskokwim River  District 1 not open.

Kuskokwim Bay  District 4 opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 24, 2015. Chinook salmon harvest and catch rate was above average. Sockeye salmon harvest was average, but the catch rate was above average. Chum salmon and coho salmon harvest and catch rate was below average. District 4 opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 27, 2015.  Harvest and catch rates for Chinook and sockeye salmon was above average. Harvest of chum salmon was below average while catch rate was average. Harvest and catch rate for coho salmon was below average. Commercial fishing in District 4 has been suspended until further notice.

Kuskokwim Bay District 5 opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 24, 2015. Chinook and sockeye salmon harvest and catch rates were above average. Chum salmon harvest was below average, while catch rate was average. Coho salmon harvest and catch rate was average. District 5 opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 27, 2015. Harvest of Chinook salmon was average while catch rate was above average. Sockeye salmon harvest and catch rate was above average. Chum salmon harvest was slightly above average while catch rate was average. Coho salmon harvest and catch rate was below average. Commercial fishing in District 5 has been suspended until further notice.

Norton Sound
Coho salmon are making a strong early showing at ground-based escapement projects in southern Norton Sound. Additionally, the commercial harvest of coho salmon in Norton Sound is well above average for late July and tracking similar to the 2014 harvest, the fourth best on record. Current information suggests coho salmon runs will likely provide for escapement needs, subsistence uses, and commercial utilization throughout Norton Sound. The department will now switch to coho salmon management, and index commercial periods directed at coho salmon in all subdistricts will begin Saturday, August 1. Cumulative commercial harvests for the Norton Sound District are 996 Chinook, 3,989 sockeye, 64,256 pink, 143,047 chum, and 25,000 coho salmon by 115 permit holders. The chum salmon harvest is now projected to exceed the 1964, 1984, and 1986 harvests, which would make it the 11th best ever in 55 years of Norton Sound commercial harvests. The sockeye harvest is now more than triple the previous record harvest of 1,252 sockeyes taken back in 1988. The coho salmon harvest for late July is also on a trajectory to meet or exceed the upper bound of the forecasted harvest of 90,000 cohos. This year's harvest also has a good chance of surpassing last year's harvest of 112,000 cohos which was the fourth best on record.

Kotzebue
There is only one buyer at this time and that buyer put fishermen on 1,500 pound limits beginning this week, down from 3,000 pound limits last week. Although there could have been fishing periods on two additional days this week the buyer declined. Next week will likely be the peak week. The second buyer may buy late next week.

Periods dropped to 6 hours this week from 8 hours last week. Starting today the buyer lowered the price from $0.37 to $0.27/pound. That didn't slow the fleet down as today's fishing period had the most permit holders for one fishing period since 1994. More permit holders are doubling up in one boat and some permit holders caught their 1,500 pound limit in an hour. The cumulative catch is just over half of last year's catch for late July.

Although the chum run is not at last year's record levels the department test net on the Kobuk River is only trailing last year's catch by 15%. Water levels are low and temperatures are warm (17 C) upriver at the test net site in Kiana. Shungnak residents have reported dead pre-spawned chum salmon and sheefish. Dead fish reports would be expected to increase along the Kobuk River similar to last year unless there is a cooling trend and heavy rainfall.

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