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Salmon Fishery Update
Southeast Alaska & Yakutat Commercial Fisheries

Updated Friday, May 22, 2015

Troll Fishery
A total of 36 spring troll and terminal harvest areas have been opened to trolling since April 16.  Five additional areas will open initially during June. Through May 21 (week 21), approximately 251 permit holders have made 639 landings, with a total of 5,721 Chinook salmon harvested.  This is an increase in effort from both 2014 and the 5-year average.  The 2015 cumulative spring Chinook harvest through May 21 is up from 2014 and the 5-year average by 1,791 and 2,153 fish, respectively. The current spring seasonal average weight for Chinook salmon of 12.9 lbs is below the 2014 average of 13.0 lbs and below the 5-year average of 13.3 lbs.  The seasonal Chinook salmon average price per pound of $7.67 is a $2.04 increase from 2014, and an increase of $1.61 from the 5-year average. 
Purse Seine Fishery
The first purse seine opening will be on Sunday, June 21 for four days and will consist of a portion of lower District 2 along the Prince of Wales Island shoreline near Kendrick Bay from McLean Point Light to Polk Island. The first 15-hour openings will also occur on Sunday, June 21, at Hidden Falls, Tenakee Inlet, and Point Augusta. The first openings in District 10, Section 7-A, and Section 13-C will occur Sunday, June 28. Initial openings in Districts 1 and 4 can be expected on Sunday, July 5.
The ADF&G pink salmon harvest forecast is 58 million fish, with an 80% confidence interval range of 37–79 million. This is above the recent 10-year average harvest of 38.4 million fish.  Based primarily on combined hatchery chum salmon forecasts, total returns of 9.3 million fish are expected.
During 2013, the pink salmon parent year, the common property purse seine harvest of 88.8 million pink salmon was a record harvest for the period 1960–2013 and well above the 10-year average (2003–2012) of 34.5 million. Escapements in 2013 were within the biological escapement goal (BEG) range in the Northern Southeast Inside Sub-region and above the BEG range in the Southern Southeast and Northern Southeast Outside Sub-regions. Management targets were met or exceeded in all 14 districts and only one stock group in the region, Freshwater Bay in District 12, fell below the management target range. The department is prepared to provide additional fishing opportunity when appropriate to harvest surplus returns.

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 21, 2015. For further details concerning this fishery, the 2014 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan is available at area offices or on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/RIR.1J.2014.03.pdf).

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8
The preseason forecast of large Stikine River King salmon is 30,200 fish. The resultant U.S.  allowable catch (AC) of 210 fish is not large enough allow for directed commercial fisheries. An inseason run estimate is typically produced near the end of May. If the inseason abundance estimate indicates a larger, more manageable U.S. AC, then directed commercial fisheries may occur.  
The preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon is 171,200 fish. Local island sockeye salmon runs are expected to be near average based on parent year escapements. The Districts 6 and 8 sockeye salmon drift gillnet fisheries are expected to begin on June 15 with an initial 48-hour opening.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B
The pre-season forecast of 26,100 large Taku River Chinook salmon does not provide for any directed Chinook fisheries in District 11 in 2015.  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 2015 Taku Inlet / Stephens Passage (Section 11-B) drift gillnet fishery will open to target sockeye salmon for two or three days beginning Sunday, June 21, depending on observed Taku 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 wild Taku River sockeye are expected to be above, and coho salmon are expected to be below, their recent ten-year averages in 2015.  Fish in excess to 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 755,000 enhanced summer chum salmon from hatchery releases in Gastineau Channel and Limestone Inlet.  The forecasted return of enhanced sockeye salmon to Port Snettisham is 214,000 fish.

Lynn Canal/District 15
The 2015 Lynn Canal (District 15) drift gillnet fishery will open for two days beginning Sunday, June 21 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 all fisheries through July 15 to conserve Chilkat River Chinook salmon.  The eastern side of Section 15-A will open 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 2015 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 above the recent 10-year average. Management strategies to harvest these stocks in excess of escapement needs will be in place for the 2015 season.
Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. have forecasted a return of 1.354 million chum salmon to Amalga and Boat Harbor release areas in 2015.  The expected return is below the 2014 return of 1.867 million and below the 2006-2013 average of approximately 2.35 million fish.
Fall chum and coho salmon returns to the Chilkat River are expected to be near the recent average for 2015.  Returns of pink salmon to SE Alaska in 2015 are expected to be well above average.

Yakutat Area Setnet 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 7. 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 2015 are expected to be average to above average. The 2015 preseason projection of a total return of 619 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 weir counts indicate the biological escapement goal (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 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 20. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association  (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit their website at http://www.ssraa.org/
Nakat Inlet THA
The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 220,000 fish and for fall chum salmon is 75,000 fish. Nakat Inlet opens to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Monday, June 1, 2015. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit their website at http://www.ssraa.org/.

Neets Bay THA
The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,180,000 fish, for fall chum salmon 210,000 fish, for Chinook salmon is 21,500, and for coho salmon 340,000 fish. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by Drift Gillnet and Purse Seine on Friday, May 1, 2015; currently there is no reported harvest. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit their website at http://www.ssraa.org/.

Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 745,000 fish. Kendrick Bay opens to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Monday, June 15, 2014. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit their website at http://www.ssraa.org/.

Anita Bay THA
The 2015 Anita Bay THA forecast includes 370,000 summer chum, 15,000 king, and 47,000 coho salmon. The Anita Bay THA opened May 1 to harvest salmon by troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear concurrently. The THA 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 SW 31. 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.

Deep Inlet THA
The Alaska Board of Fisheries, during its March 2015 meeting, passed regulations requiring the time ratio for gillnet openings to seine openings as 2:1 for the 2015 – 2017 seasons; except from the third Sunday in June through statistical week 30, the time ratio for gillnet openings to seine openings is 1:1. However, if the postseason preliminary enhanced salmon harvest value data from the previous season indicates the seine gear group is within its enhanced salmon allocation percentage range, based on the five-year rolling average as described in 5 AAC 33.364, the time ratio for gillnet openings to seine openings is 2:1 for the entire season.

The Deep Inlet THA is scheduled to open beginning May 31, 2015. This season, Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) is projecting a total return of 27,500 Chinook salmon, 18,000 Coho salmon and 1,336,000 chum salmon to the Medvejie Hatchery and Deep Inlet THA. This season, 90,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock and no cost recovery is expected to occur. Therefore, NSRAA does not anticipate closing the Deep Inlet rotational fisheries.

Hidden Falls THA
Find updated announcements online in the Southeast Alaska Salmon section of our website.