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Salmon Fishery Update
Southeast Alaska & Yakutat Commercial Fisheries

Updated Friday, September 20, 2019

Troll Fishery

Regional power troll coho salmon catch rates for the current week are 46 fish/day, with the highest catch rates in the Northern Inside area at 70 fish/day. For harvest through September 18, the seasonal average weight of coho salmon at 6.2 lbs. is below the 2018 average of 6.9 lbs., but is equivalent to the 5-year and 10-year averages of 6.2 lbs. The average price for the season is $2.03/lb. and the cumulative catch since July 1 is 924,000 coho salmon. A news release concerning the assessment of an extension of the troll season was issued on September 16. Fishing in all waters of the region, except for waters closed by regulation and areas of high king salmon abundance, was extended through September 30. The extension is being implemented based on projections by the department that wild Southeast Alaska/Yakutat coho salmon escapement goals will be met after considering harvest and effort.

Troll effort targeting enhanced chum salmon returning to the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) release sites in Crawfish Inlet and Deep Inlet has wrapped up for the season. Based on fish tickets received through September 18, the cumulative seasonal harvest and effort for Crawfish Inlet is 189,000 chum salmon by 125 permits. The cumulative seasonal harvest and effort in the Sitka Sound area is 32,300 chum salmon caught by 100 permits. The chum salmon seasonal average weight is 7.7 lbs. for Crawfish Inlet and 7.5 lbs. for Sitka Sound. The average price is $0.64/lb. for these areas.

In the troll fishery news release dated August 28, the department announced that a third Chinook salmon retention period of the general summer commercial troll season will begin at 12:01 a.m., September 1 to target the approximately 1,200 treaty Chinook salmon remaining on the annual troll allocation. The retention period continued for 10 days, from September 1 through 11:59 p.m., September 10. Based on the number of Chinook salmon remaining on the annual troll allocation and the number of permits actively fishing, a total of two Chinook salmon per permit were allocated during the 10-day fishery. To date, an estimated 653 Chinook salmon were harvested during the "limited harvest" retention period.

The 2019–2020 winter troll fishery will open according to regulation at 12:01 a.m., October 11, 2019. The 2019–2020 Winter Troll Fishery Management Plan will be available by early October in all ADF&G area offices and on the troll fishery website.

The 2019 Summer Troll Fishery Management Plan (PDF 3,403 MB) is available online and in area offices.

Purse Seine Fishery

The 2019 total enhanced summer chum salmon run was expected to eclipse 17 million fish, but returns have been lower than expected throughout Southeast Alaska. Several terminal harvest areas have been closed or were never opened due to broodstock concerns or to meet cost recovery obligations. Common property purse seine chum salmon harvest in THAs to date was reported to be 2.3 million fish. This includes purse seine harvest from Crawfish Inlet.

The 2019 Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest forecast was predicted to be weak with a point estimate of 18 million fish. The purse seine pink salmon harvest through August 26 was estimated to be 18.2 million fish. The total pink salmon harvest in all fisheries is estimated to be 19.2 million fish.

The pink salmon return to northern Southeast has been poorer than expected and most of the northern southeast inside seine areas remain closed for the season. Most of the pink salmon harvest occurred in southern southeast. Directed pink salmon fisheries ceased after a final 39-hr opening on August 28 and 29. The Department has shifted efforts from pink salmon to fall chum salmon. On September 1, a 12-hour opening occurred in Chomdeley Sound, Security Bay, and Crawfish Inlet. Another 12-hour opening occurred later in the week on September 5 in Security Bay, Crawfish Inlet and West Crawfish Inlet. The Department will continue to monitor fall chum salmon returns in Chomley Sound, Security Bay, Port Camden and Excursion Inlet.

All Chinook salmon harvested in the Deep Inlet THA must be retained and may be sold. For all other fishing areas (including the Kendrick Bay THA), Chinook salmon 28 inches or greater in length may NOT be retained and Chinook salmon less than 28 inches may be retained but not sold.

Drift Gillnet Fishery

For more information please see the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB)

Tree Point/Section 1-B

The Section 1-B drift gillnet fishery was open for four days starting on Sunday, September 15. In comparison to the 10-year average, harvest of all salmon species was below average. The effort level of 25 vessels was below the 10-year average of 36 vessels. The estimated weekly harvest was 6,000 coho salmon, and 1,000 chum salmon. Section 1-B is currently being managed based on the strength of returning wild stock coho and fall chum salmon. Section 1-B will be open four days in statistical week 39 beginning at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 22.

For further details concerning this fishery, the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB) which is also available in area offices.

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

Gillnet fisheries in District 6 and District 8 were managed based on wild coho salmon abundance during statistical week 38. Both districts opened for three days beginning Sunday, September 15. Wild coho salmon harvest rates in District 6 were just below average with below average effort. Wild coho salmon harvest rates and participation were well below average in District 8. The hatchery component is expected to make up less than half of the harvest this week based on historical timing. The historical peak for wild coho salmon stocks returning to systems in Districts 6 and 8 occurs during the first half of September and steadily decrease in the latter part of the month when the hatchery component typically peaks; timing is likely past peak for the wild component. Although indicators are pointing towards a slightly weaker than average return, effort is expected to be below average. Both districts will open for three days in statistical week 39 starting September 22.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

A below average sized fleet harvested an average number of coho salmon in District 11 this week (statistical week 38). The fish continue to move through the district in pulses with good sets intermixed with water hauls. The best catches continue to be near Point Bishop where enhanced Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. (DIPAC) coho salmon headed for Gastineau Channel mill and get washed into the open area with the tides. With catch rates holding up over the course of the opening and continuing good inriver indicators from the Taku River, a 24-hour extension was granted providing for a total five days of fishing opportunity this week.

The current Taku River coho salmon terminal run size projection decreased slightly from last week providing an allowable catch (AC) of slightly less than 15,000 Canada-origin fish for the U.S. under terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. With the current estimate of above border coho salmon in the District 11 harvest about two thirds of the available AC, continuing good inriver abundance indicators in both the fish wheels and the Canadian fishery, and a diminishing fleet as boats quit for the season or move on to fall fisheries, conservation concerns in District 11 are minimal.

Section 11-B will open for five days next week allowing the anticipated small fleet opportunity to choose their weather and tides.

Lynn Canal/District 15

District 15 opened on September 15 for three days in waters south of Glacier Point in Chilkat Inlet, and south of the White Rock line in Lutak Inlet (Section 15-A). In Section 15-C, all waters were open for three days, except for William Henry and Berner's bays.

The below-average fleet size of 50 boats encountered above average catch rates of chum salmon in Section 15-A and above average catch rates of coho salmon in Section 15-C the first day of the openers. Catches dropped the second day, then gale force winds in the canal forced the fleet off the fishing grounds on day three. Approximately 7,000 coho salmon, 10,000 chum salmon, and a handful of sockeye salmon were harvested this week, below the 10-year average.

The Chilkoot River weir has been removed for the season with a total escapement count of 140,000 sockeye salmon, which exceeded the upper bound of the escapement goal range. Chilkat Lake sockeye salmon escapement estimate of approximately 118,000 fish is within the escapement goal range. The Chilkat River fish wheels are a rough index of coho and chum salmon abundance. Coho salmon catches are on track for reaching the upper bound of the escapement goal range and chum salmon catch data indicates escapement is within the escapement goal range. Preliminary mark-recapture data for Chilkat River Chinook salmon estimates an escapement of about 1,900 large fish, within the escapement goal range of 1,750 to 3,500 fish for the first time in three years.

Next week (statistical week 39), Section 15-A will open for three days south of Letnikof Cove Point and south of Mud Bay. In Section 15-C, all waters will be open for three days, with the exception of Berners and William Henry Bays.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

The Alsek River, East River, Akwe River, Yakutat Bay, Dangerous River, remainder of the Yakutat District, and the Yakataga District (including the Kaliakh River and Seal River) opened for 3 days this week. The Tsiu River was opened for 2 days. The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and Manby Outside Waters opened for 4 days.

The Alsek River, Dangerous River, Yakutat Bay, Manby Inside Waters were not fished. The harvest for the respective areas is as follows. In the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 55 permits harvested 14,593 coho salmon. For Manby Outside Waters, East River, and Kaliakh River, harvest information is confidential. Kaliakh River harvest information is not complete for this statistical week.

Escapement monitoring completed for statistical week 38 in the Yakutat area. In the Situk River approximately 10,381 coho salmon were observed. This is above the upper end of the coho salmon escapement goal (9,800 fish). Tawah Creek was also surveyed and 652 coho salmon were observed in the system.

The East River, Alsek River, Akwe River, Yakutat Bay, Dangerous River, remainder of the district, and the Yakataga District (including the Kaliakh River and Seal River) will have 3 days of fishing in statistical week 39. The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, Manby Outside Waters and Manby Inside Waters will have 3 days of fishing. The Tsiu River will have 2 days of fishing. The Italio River will open by emergency order when adequate levels of escapement can be documented.

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 for Nakat Inlet is 254,500 summer chum salmon and 197,100 fall chum salmon. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Saturday, June 1.

The Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon harvest was 126,000 fish or 49% of the summer chum salmon forecast. This total includes 38,000 summer chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear, 8,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear in the traditional fishery, and 80,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA. The Nakat Inlet fall chum harvest through statistical week 38 is 64,000 chum salmon or 32% of the fall chum salmon forecast. This total includes 47,000 fall chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear, 8,000 fall chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear in the traditional fishery, and 9,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

For further information please refer to the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB) and for updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay forecasted return is 1,911,400 summer chum, 345,100 fall chum, 16,200 Chinook, and 126,900 coho salmon. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by troll gear on Saturday June 15, and by rotational fishery between drift gillnet and purse seine on Saturday, July 6.

The harvest of summer chum salmon was 154,500 fish. In the traditional fishery 125,000 chum salmon were harvested by purse seine gear and 23,000 chum salmon were harvested by drift gillnet gear. Inside the THA 1,000 chum salmon were harvested by purse seine and 500 chum salmon were harvested by drift gillnet gear. The harvest of fall chum salmon through statistical week 38 is 13,000 fish, with 3,000 fish harvested by drift gillnet and 10,000 fish harvested by purse seine. The harvest of Chinook salmon in the Neets Bay THA was 6,000 salmon by purse seine gear and 3,000 salmon by drift gillnet gear.

For further information please refer to ADF&G news releases for Neets Bay and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay is 1,031,700 summer chum salmon. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Saturday, June 15.

The Kendrick Bay harvest was 330,000 chum salmon. This total includes 221,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 26,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery, and 83,000 chum salmon harvested inside the THA.

For further information please refer to the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB) and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Caroll Inlet THA

The forecasted return for Carroll Inlet is 8,000 Chinook salmon. The Carroll Inlet THA opened to the harvest of salmon by all gear groups on Saturday, June 1, and the rotational fishery between purse seine and drift gillnet through Sunday, June 30 at which time the Carroll Inlet THA closed.

The harvest of Chinook salmon in the Carroll Inlet THA was 1,000 Chinook salmon by purse seine gear and 500 Chinook salmon by drift gillnet gear.

For further information please refer to ADF&G news releases for Carroll Inlet and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Anita Bay THA

The 2019 Anita Bay THA harvest to date is 4,000 Chinook, 46,000 chum, and 3,700 coho salmon by gillnet gear, 1,700 Chinook, 77,000 chum, and 200 coho salmon by purse seine gear, and 200 Chinook, 100 chum, and 200 coho salmon by troll gear within the THA.

For additional information, please refer to the to the ADF&G News Releases webpage.

For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Deep Inlet THA

The Deep Inlet THA opened on June 2 for rotational fisheries. Seine openings will occur on Sunday, Thursday, and Friday, and gillnet openings will occur on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week. Forecasted runs for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 2,144,000 chum salmon, 35,300 Chinook salmon, and 78,000 coho salmon. This season, 100,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock. The Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) does not anticipate cost recovery operations this season in the Deep Inlet THA.

Seine harvest through September 20 is 2,400 Chinook salmon and 740,000 chum salmon; gillnet harvest through September 20 is 4,000 Chinook salmon and 421,000 chum salmon.

Hidden Falls THA

Openings in the Hidden Falls THA occurred on June 16, 20, 23, 27 and August 8-9. Chum salmon broodstock collection within the Hidden Falls THA is complete. Seine harvest through June 27 is 300 Chinook salmon and 13,000 chum salmon. Harvest from the August 8–9 period is confidential.

Crawfish Inlet THA

There have been 12 common property openings in the Crawfish Inlet THA since August 4. Harvest from these openings is approximately 1,675,000 chum salmon. The last opening for the Crawfish Inlet THA is schedule for September 26.