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2016 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, May 20, 2016

Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery
A total of 36 spring troll, directed troll, and terminal harvest areas have been opened to trolling since April 15.  Four additional areas will open initially during May and June. Through May 19 (week 21), approximately 336 permits holders have made 1,058 landings, with a total of 9,172 Chinook harvested.  This is an increase in effort from both 2015 and the 5-year average.  The 2016 cumulative spring Chinook harvest through May 19 is up from 2015 and the 5-year average by 2,935 and 5,265, respectively. The current spring seasonal average weight for Chinook salmon of 11.2 lbs is below the 2015 average of 12.9 lbs and below the 5-year average of 13.1 lbs.  The seasonal Chinook salmon average price per pound of $9.24 is a $1.60 increase from 2015, an increase of $2.63 from the 5-year average. 

In the spring troll news release issued May 19 (PDF 231 kB), the department announced the District 8 directed troll fishery would be closed until further notice. An inseason estimate of Stikine River Chinook salmon abundance has not been produced to date. Inriver catches have been poor and have not generated enough data to produce an inseason run size estimate. In addition, this week concluded the third week of directed fisheries in District 8. Harvests in each of those weeks were much lower than anticipated. Inriver catches and marine harvest in sport and spring troll fisheries will continue to be monitored. The directed troll fishery may reopen if indications of Stikine River Chinook salmon abundance improve.

Purse Seine Fishery
In 2015, the common property purse seine harvest total (traditional and Terminal Harvest Area (THA)) in Southern Southeast Alaska was 14.8 million fish which ranks 29th since 1960. The harvest included: 25,000 Chinook, 728,000 sockeye, 194,000 coho, 11.3 million pink, and 2.6 million chum salmon

Purse seine fishing in Northern Southeast Alaska includes the fisheries that occur in Districts 9 through 14. Fishery management is driven primarily by pink salmon stock abundance but also includes fisheries in hatchery terminal harvest areas. In 2015, traditional, THA and Special Harvest Area (SHA) purse seine harvests in Northern Southeast Alaska totaled 23.4 million fish and included 5,000 Chinook, 180,000 sockeye, 90,000 coho, 20.9 million pink, and 2.2 million chum salmon. The total salmon harvest was above the recent 10-year and long-term averages and ranked 8th out of 56 years since 1960. Harvests of individual salmon species compared to recent and long-term averages were as follows: Chinook harvest was below recent and long-term averages; sockeye harvest was above recent and long-term averages; coho harvest was above recent average and below long-term average; pink harvest was above recent and long-term averages; and chum harvest was below recent average and above long-term average.

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 opens the third Sunday in June, or Sunday, June 19, 2016. For further details concerning this fishery, please reference the 2016 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan (PDF 486 kB).

The following information about the Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, and Kendrick Bay terminal harvest areas (THA) is estimated through Statistical Week 20. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) website.

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8
An inseason estimate of Stikine River Chinook salmon abundance has not been produced to date. Inriver catches have been poor and have not generated enough data to produce an inseason run size estimate. In addition, this week concluded the third week of directed drift gillnet fishing in District 8. Harvests in each of those weeks were much lower than anticipated. ADF&G will continue to monitor inriver catches and marine harvest in sport and spring troll fisheries. The drift gillnet fishery may reopen if indications of Stikine River Chinook salmon abundance improve.

Districts 6 and 8 sockeye salmon fisheries will begin on June 13. The preseason forecast for Stikine sockeye salmon is 227,000 fish, well above the previous 10-year average. Local island systems sockeye returns are expected to be average to above average.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B
The pre-season forecast of 29,200 Taku River large Chinook salmon does not provide for any directed Chinook salmon fisheries in District 11 in 2016.  The initial in-season estimate will likely be produced in late May and will begin to reveal the accuracy of the pre-season forecast.  Directed Chinook salmon fishing in District 11 is not anticipated.

The 2016 Taku Inlet / Stephens Passage (Section 11-B) drift gillnet fishery will open to target sockeye salmon for two or three days beginning Sunday, June 19, depending on observed Taku River Chinook salmon run strength.  Through mid-August, management will be based on wild sockeye salmon abundance, after which focus will shift to Taku River coho salmon abundance.  Weekly opening times will be determined in-season based on data from the Taku River stock assessment program, fishery catch per unit effort (CPUE), and effort levels. 

The total runs of Taku River wild sockeye and coho salmon are expected to be above their recent ten-year averages in 2016.  Fish in excess of escapement goals are expected and openings of near-average time and area should occur.

Douglas Island Pink and Chum, Inc. (DIPAC) is forecasting returns of 893,000 enhanced summer chum salmon from hatchery releases in Gastineau Channel and Limestone Inlet.  The forecasted return of enhanced sockeye salmon to Port Snettisham is 254,000 fish, and 81,000 enhanced coho salmon are forecasted to return to Gastineau Channel.

Lynn Canal/District 15
The 2016 Lynn Canal (District 15) drift gillnet fishery will open for two days beginning Sunday, June 19 in Sections 15-A and 15-C.  Time and area adjustments to the District 15 commercial salmon drift gillnet fishery will be managed to harvest Chilkoot and Chilkat Lake sockeye salmon in excess of escapement needs while being very conservative to minimize harvest of Chilkat River Chinook salmon.  The preseason forecast for large Chilkat River Chinook salmon is for a return that is below escapement objectives.  Chilkat Inlet will be closed to sport and commercial fisheries through July 15 to conserve Chilkat River Chinook salmon, and subsistence fishing will be limited.  The eastern side of Section 15-A will open for commercial fishing with limited time and area to harvest sockeye salmon while reducing the harvest rate on Chinook salmon.  Section 15-C management will focus on harvesting hatchery chum salmon while providing escapement within goal ranges for wild northbound salmon stocks.  The fall season fishery will be managed to harvest Chilkat River fall chum and coho salmon while providing for escapement goals.  For further details concerning this fishery, the 2016 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan is available at area offices or on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.

Returns of Chilkoot Lake, Chilkat Lake and mainstem sockeye salmon are expected to be near the recent 10-year average. Management strategies to harvest these stocks in excess of escapement needs will be in place for the 2016 season.

Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. have forecasted a return of 1.628 million chum salmon to Amalga and Boat Harbor release areas in 2016.  The expected return is below the 2015 return of 1.829 million and below the 2006-2015 average of approximately 2.2 million fish.

Fall chum and coho salmon returns to the Chilkat River are expected to be near the recent average for 2016.  Returns of pink salmon to SE Alaska in 2016 are expected to be below the recent 10 year average.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery
The Yakutat set gillnet fisheries do not open until June, and openings for various systems are staggered according to run timing. The Alsek River fishery will open on the first Sunday in June, June 5. Yakutat Bay and the Dangerous River will open on the second Sunday in June. The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and the Manby Shore fisheries will open on the third Sunday in June. The remainder of the Yakutat District will open on the fourth Sunday in June. The East River and the Italio River systems will open by emergency order when escapement counts have been observed.

Sockeye salmon returns to the Yakutat Area in 2016 are expected to be average to above average. The 2016 preseason projection of a total return of 684 Chinook salmon to the Situk River is indicative of a below average return, and subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries will be closed for Situk River Chinook salmon. These fisheries will reopen when Situk River weir counts indicate the BEG will be attained. The preseason projection for Alsek River Chinook salmon indicates that the BEG for them will be attained.  The coho salmon return this year is also 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 260,000 and for fall chum salmon is 82,800. Nakat Inlet opens to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) website.

Neets Bay THA
The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,237,000, for fall chum salmon is 250,000, for Chinook salmon is 17,500, and for coho salmon is 254,800. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by Drift Gillnet and Purse Seine on Sunday, May 1, 2016. Currently there is no reported harvest. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) website.

Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 868,000. Kendrick Bay opens to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) website.

Anita Bay THA
The 2016 Anita Bay THA forecast includes 387,000 summer chum, 16,500 king, and 15,000 coho salmon. The Anita Bay THA opened May 1 to harvest salmon by troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear concurrently and will remain open to troll fishing for the remainder of the season. A rotational fishery will begin on June 13 between the drift gillnet and purse seine gear groups with an initial time ratio of one to one and then change to a time ratio of two to one in Stat Week (SW) 31. This rotational fishing period will conclude on August 30 when the THA opens to both gear groups concurrently until it closes for the season on November 10 at 12:00 noon. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) website.

Deep Inlet THA
The Deep Inlet THA rotational fisheries begins May 28, with seine openings on Sunday and Wednesday, and gillnet openings on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,782,000 chum salmon, 31,200 king salmon, and 62,000 coho salmon. This season, 90,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock, and up to 400,000 chum salmon are needed for cost recovery, depending on price. Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) anticipates a closure of the THA, in early August, will be necessary to complete cost recovery needs.

Hidden Falls THA
The first common property purse seine opening in the Hidden Falls THA is scheduled for June 19 with 15-hour openings expected to occur Sundays and Thursdays of each week during the early season.  Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 1,433,000 chum salmon, 5,400 king salmon, and 194,000 coho salmon.  Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) needs 190,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 1,243,000 chum salmon available for common property harvests. NSRAA intends 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 District will open to commercial fishing for a 24-hour fishing period on May 19 (PDF 277 kB). This will be the second fishing period of the 2016 season.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 8. To date, about 17,800 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site.

Waters inside of the barrier islands from Steamboat Anchorage to Coffee Creek will be closed during the fishing period on May 19.

The preliminary harvest from the first Copper River District commercial fishing period was 23,300 sockeye and 1,300 Chinook salmon. This first period harvest was below the anticipated harvest of 33,500 sockeye and 3,500 Chinook salmon.

Break-up of the Copper River is ahead of normal and river water levels are now above average for this date.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine
The 2016 pink salmon total run forecast for Prince William Sound is 40.9 million fish, of which 31.6 million will be available for common property harvest. This pink salmon total run forecast includes 3.8 million wild stock fish, 17.4 million Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) fish, and 19.6 million Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) hatchery fish. Approximately 3.4 million (20%) of the projected 17.4 million pink salmon run to VFDA’s Solomon Gulch Hatchery will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock leaving 14.0 million for common property harvest. Approximately 4.7 million (24%) of the projected 19.6 million pink salmon run to the PWSAC hatcheries will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock. The remaining 14.9 million PWSAC pink salmon will be available for common property harvest. Based on the department’s wild stock pink salmon forecast of 3.8 million fish, there is a potential common property harvest of 2.7 million wild pink salmon. The department will manage for each district’s escapement goal for a combined total of 1.2 million fish.

For more information please read the 2016 Prince William Sound Outlook (PDF 228 kB)

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Bristol Bay

The forecasted Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run for 2016 is approximately 46.6 million fish. Based on the forecast and using the mid-points of escapement goal ranges, 29.5 million fish are potentially available for commercial harvest (Table 1). 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 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.

For more information please read the 2016 Bristol Bay Preseason Outlook (PDF 443 kB).

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)
The salmon fishery in UCI has not opened for the 2016 season.  Below are some highlights from the 2016 Upper Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishery outlook (PDF 454 kB)..

A run of approximately 7.1 million sockeye salmon is forecasted to return to Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) in 2016, with a harvest by all user groups of 5.3 million.  The commercial fishery harvest in 2016 is expected to be approximately 4.1 million sockeye salmon, which is 1.2 million fish greater than the most recent 10-year average annual commercial sockeye salmon harvest of 2.9 million fish.

Forecast runs to individual freshwater systems are as follows:

System Run Goalsa
Fish Creek 110,000 20,000–70,000
Kasilof River b,c 861,000 160,000–340,000
Kenai River b,d 4,731,000 1,100,000–1,350,000
Susitna River 372,000  
Larson Lake N/A 15,000–50,000
Chelatna Lake N/A 20,000–65,000
Judd Lake N/A 25,000–55,000
Unmonitored Systems e 1,039,000 N/A
Total 7,113,000  

a Goals listed here are as follows: Fish Creek: Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG); Kasilof River: Biological Escapement Goal (BEG); Kenai River: Inriver; and Susitna River: SEG (weir goals).
b   Kasilof and Kenai rivers escapement goals are now DIDSON-based.
c   Kasilof River optimal escapement goal is 160,000–390,000 sockeye salmon.
d   Kenai River optimal escapement goal is 700,000–1,400,000.
e   Unmonitored systems are estimated to be 15% of monitored systems.

Northern District Set Gillnet
Since 2011, management actions in the Northern District directed king salmon set gillnet fishery have included area closures, time restrictions, and/or regularly scheduled fishing period closures in order to reduce the harvest of northern Cook Inlet king salmon.  King salmon escapements have improved in the Northern District over the last couple of years.  This has resulted in a relaxation of some sport fish restrictions on the Deshka and Little Su rivers.  Harvest and escapement data over recent years in combination with recent strength of age class relationships derived from data collected at the Deshka and Little Susitna weirs indicate that additional harvest over 2013–2015 levels is sustainable for these systems only. 

The Northern District directed king salmon commercial fishery will start the 2016 season fishing regularly scheduled 12-hour fishing periods with the exception of the first period (May 30) which will be restrict to a 6-hour fishing period.  There will be four fishing periods in the 2016 season (in the previous three years, 2013–2015, there were five regular periods per year); those being May 30, and June 6, 13, and 20.  In addition, the area from the wood chip dock to the Susitna River will remain closed to commercial king salmon fishing.  This area closure is estimated to reduce the overall commercial harvest of king salmon by approximately 50%.  Escapement of king salmon into the Deshka River will be closely monitored during the 2016 season.  Additional restrictions or closures to commercial fishing periods will be based upon inseason assessment of king salmon escapement at the Deshka River.

Susitna River sockeye salmon remain a stock of yield concern. As a result of this designation, restrictive actions to fisheries that harvest this stock were retained in regulation at the 2014 Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) meeting. The Northern District Salmon Management Plan permits the department to reduce the legal complement of gear in the Northern District set gillnet fishery to no more than one net per permit from July 20 through August 6 to conserve Susitna River sockeye salmon. However, in that portion of the General Subdistrict south of the Susitna River, the department may allow the use of no more than two nets per permit after July 30. In 2016, five different fishing periods could be affected by a reduction of gear. All areas in the Northern District will return to a full complement of gear beginning on Monday, August 8.

Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery
The 2016 Kenai River late-run king salmon forecast projects a total run of approximately 30,000 fish.  Because the inriver run is expected to exceed 22,500 fish management strategies for the 2016 Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery will deviate from the past two seasons and return to management based primarily on the 5 AAC 21.360. Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan.  Fishing time allowed will be based on inseason assessment of sockeye salmon abundance, while ensuring adequate king salmon escapement relative to the SEG of 15,000–30,000 Kenai River late-run king salmon.

Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery
The department manages the UCI drift gillnet fleet primarily under the guidance of 5 AAC 21.353. Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan. The purpose of this management plan is to ensure adequate escapement of salmon into Northern Cook Inlet drainages and to provide management guidelines to the department. To meet these directives, there are two timeframes in July when drift fleet restrictions are implemented to pass fish through the Central District. The drift fishery will begin the 2016 season on Monday, June 20.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)
The overall 2016 commercial common property harvest from Lower Cook Inlet is anticipated to be 548,000 salmon, of which 10% are anticipated to be of wild stock origin.

In the Southern District, the set gillnet fishery is anticipated to open for the 2016 season on Thursday, June 2.  The 5-year harvest averages for this area and gear are 300 Chinook, 1,400 coho and 4,500 chum salmon. The 5-year commercial harvest average for wild sockeye salmon  is 28,100 fish.

Harvests for 2016 are anticipated to be similar to the historic average. The department's preliminary pink salmon forecast estimated a harvestable surplus of 47,000 fish from the Southern District, which is to be shared by commercial set gillnet and purse seine permit holders.

Portions of the Southern District are anticipated to open to purse seine harvest in mid-June coinciding with enhanced returns to Leisure and Hazel lakes.  Historically this return peaks from July 12–18 (week 29). Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) anticipates a return of 22,500 sockeye salmon to Leisure and Hazel lakes combined, as well as 82,700 sockeye salmon to Tutka Bay. Commercial fishing time after mid-July will be correlated to pink salmon escapement at Humpy Creek, Seldovia Bay, Port Graham and other locations in this district. A total of 415,000 hatchery produced pink salmon are anticipated to return to release sites in the Southern District with 227,000 of those required for hatchery broodstock.

Hatchery sockeye salmon returns to the Eastern District are forecast by CIAA to be 171,000 fish, nearly  all of which will be required for cost recovery and broodstock purposes. Wild stock harvest opportunity in the Eastern District will be linked to aerial survey observations of wild sockeye and pink salmon escapements to Aialik Lake and other spawning systems in this district.

Portions of the Outer District may open to commercial harvest in mid-July focusing on sockeye returns to McCarty Fjord lakes.  The previous 5-year harvest average for this district is 14,300 sockeye and 56,800 chum salmon. The department has forecast a harvestable surplus of 194,000 pink salmon from this district. The parent year (2014) commercial harvest from this district was 164,000 pink salmon.

The Kamishak Bay District is anticipated to open on the date specified in regulation on June 1. Previous 5-year average harvests for this district (excluding the Kirschner Subdistrict) are 36,800 sockeye and 2,700 chum salmon with the majority of the sockeye salmon harvest attributed to Chenik Lake runs and the chum salmon harvest spread throughout the district. The department has forecast a harvestable surplus of 83,000 pink salmon in this district. Returns of hatchery released sockeye salmon to the Kirschner Lake outfall remote release site are anticipated to be 18,158 fish.
For more information please see the complete 2016 Lower Cook Inlet salmon fishery outlook (PDF 175 kB).

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Kodiak

The 2016 preseason forecasts project a harvest of approximately 3,408,000 sockeye, 330,000 coho, 16,193,000 pink and 643,000 chum salmon.  Additionally, an estimated 15,000 Chinook salmon could be harvested incidentally in fisheries targeting other species.  All fishing periods will be established by emergency order.  The initial test fishing period for the west side of Kodiak Island is tentatively scheduled to open June 9, but may occur as early as June 1.  There are 10 salmon management plans that direct ADF&G management activities for specific portions and time periods of the Kodiak Management Area.  For more information, please visit the ADF&G Kodiak Management Area webpage.   For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula
The 2016 projected North Peninsula salmon harvest is 2,503,000 fish, of which 2.2 million are expected to be sockeye salmon.  The bulk of the salmon harvest is projected to occur in the Northern District between the Nelson Lagoon and Outer Point Heiden sections. 

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 Unimak and Shumagin Islands June commercial salmon fisheries target sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka and are in effect from June 7 through June 29. The South Unimak June fishery occurs in the Unimak and Southwestern districts, a portion of the South Central District, and Bechevin Bay Section. The Shumagin Islands June fishery includes the Shumagin Islands Section of the Southeastern District.

The Post-June Salmon Management Plan covers all waters of the South Alaska Peninsula management area (except the Southeastern District Mainland) from July 1 through October 31.

Commercial salmon fishing opportunities during the month of July will consist of one 33-hour fishing period, followed by a 63-hour closure, followed by six 36-hour fishing periods, separated by 60-hour closures (5 AAC 09.366(d)). The first post-June fishing period will be on July 6, pending the results from the immature test fishery. The first commercial fishing period of the July 22 through July 31 periods will begin at 6:00 AM on July 22 (5 AAC 09.366(d)

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Chignik

The 2016 Chignik Management Area preseason forecast projects an approximate total run estimate of 2,909,000 sockeye salmon.  The total forecasted sockeye salmon harvest in the Chignik Management Area is 2,190,000 fish. Beginning June 1, the first commercial fishing period may occur in the Chignik Bay District after approximately 20,000 sockeye salmon have escaped into the Chignik River.    For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for 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 2016 Chinook salmon run is expected to be below average. Although the run may be stronger than recent years, continued conservation measures will be necessary to meet Chinook salmon escapement objectives.

2016 Run and Harvest Outlook for Yukon River Salmon

  Chinook Summer Chum Fall Chum Coho
Projection: Below Average Average to above average Below average Average to above average
Escapement: Potential to meet most goals Expect to meet goals Expect to meet goals Expect to meet goal
Subsistence: Restrictions necessary Expect to provide for normal harvest Expect to provide for normal harvest Expect to provide for normal harvest
Commercial: No fishery 450,000 to 950,000 potentially available 20,000 to 230,000 potentially available 30,000 to 100,000 potentially available

For more information please see the the 2016 Yukon River Salmon Fisheries Outlook (PDF 199 kB).

Kuskokwim River
The 2016 Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon forecast is for a range of 125,000–219,000 fish. The drainage-wide Chinook salmon escapement goal is 65,000–120,000. Average subsistence Chinook salmon harvest is 84,000. If the run comes back within the forecast range, then there may be enough Chinook salmon to provide for escapement and subsistence needs.

Given the uncertainty in the estimate of the 2015 run size, the large forecast range of the 2016 run, and consecutive years of low Chinook salmon runs to the Kuskokwim River, a precautionary management strategy remains warranted.

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

Norton Sound
Salmon outlooks and harvest projections for the 2016 salmon season are based on qualitative assessments of parent-year escapements, sibling relationships, subjective determinations of freshwater overwintering and ocean survival, and in the case of the commercial fishery, the projections of local market conditions. The Chinook salmon run is expected to be weak 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 of Chinook salmon will not be allowed in Subdistricts 5 and 6 if Chinook salmon subsistence fishing restrictions are imposed. 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 130,000 to 170,000 fish. The department expects the pink salmon run to be above average for an even-numbered year and the harvest could range from 250,000 to 750,000 fish. A harvest of this magnitude would be dependent on pink salmon directed fishing periods and sufficient buyer interest. The department has emergency order authority to increase allowable commercial gillnet gear from 100 fathoms to 200 fathoms in a pink salmon directed fishery. The coho salmon run is expected to be above average based on ocean survival conditions in recent years. The commercial harvest is expected to be 120,000 to 160,000 fish. In the Port Clarence District the department expects the commercial fishery to remain closed and there could be subsistence closures in the Pilgrim River as early as the second week of July to protect the sockeye salmon run.

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

Kotzebue
The outlook for the 2016 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 in 2015. The 4-year-old component of the run is expected to be average based on the 3-year-old return in 2013. The 5-year-old component of the run is expected to be above average based on the 4-year-old return last year. The 3-year-old and 6-year-old age classes are much smaller components of the run and are expected to be average. The commercial harvest is expected to fall within the range of 300,000 to 500,000 chum salmon, if market conditions can accept that level of harvest and at least one major buyer is present in 2016.

No subsistence fishing restrictions are expected in 2016. Primary commercial fishery management objectives are to provide adequate chum salmon passage through the commercial fishery: (1) to ensure sustained runs by allowing adequate escapement, and (2) to meet subsistence harvest uses. Fishery management will be dependent on comparing period and cumulative season catch rates to prior years and test fishing results on the Kobuk River, and the Noatak River if test fishing occurs there.

Age composition of commercial salmon catches will be monitored to determine the strength of age classes in the run. If there is a low abundance of older salmon, which tend to migrate into freshwater first, catch rates will likely be weak early in the season. A strong 4-year-old return may cause midseason catches to rise.

Demand for chum salmon is unknown at this time, but the major buyer and one minor buyer from last year have confirmed that they plan to return for 2016 season.

If the commercial fishery is similar to last year there will be 6 to 12 hour fishing periods on any day of the week, except Saturday in the first two weeks of July and likely shorter fishing periods as the peak of the run comes in. If buyers opt for longer fishing periods similar to the 12‑hour periods in the late 1990s and early 2000s then there will likely be a one-day closure midweek unless the run is strong enough to allow fishing periods 6 days per week. However, if the buyers have fishermen on catch limits the department in agreement with the buyers could open commercial fishing continuously and let the buyers decide when their fleet would fish.

The department intends to open the commercial fishery anytime after July 9 when the buyers are ready or permit holders indicate they are ready to fish and a market is available. By regulation the commercial season closes after August 31.

If poor run strength necessitates fishing restrictions, the department will establish periodic closures of the fishery. The department will confer with buyers if concern arises about salmon runs and the need to reduce commercial fishing time.

If commercial catches indicate a weak run, and are in agreement with test fish catches in the Kobuk River, the department will consider reducing fishing time in late July to two short duration periods per week or less. If commercial catches indicate sufficient run strength the department will allow commercial fishing to continue based on market conditions and escapement indicators. Likewise, in August as the Noatak River chum salmon run passes through the district the department will consider restrictions if commercial catches indicate a weak run.

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

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