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Salmon Fishery Update
Southeast Alaska & Yakutat Commercial Fisheries

There are no more updates to the Blue Sheet Summaries for the 2018 salmon season.

Last updated Friday, September 21, 2018

Southeast Chinook Salmon Symposium

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

Presentation topics included:

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

Troll Fishery

The regional power troll coho salmon catch rate for this week is 25 fish/day, which is below the 20-year average of 75 fish/day and the 2017 average of 66 coho/day. The highest catch rates for the current week have occurred in the Northern Inside area. For harvest through September 20, the seasonal average weight of coho salmon is 6.9 lbs., which is above the 2017 average of 5.1 lbs., and the 5-year and 10-year averages of 5.9 and 6.1 lbs., respectively. The average price is currently $2.13/lb. and the cumulative catch since July 1 is 910,000 coho salmon. A news release concerning the assessment of an extension of the troll season was issued on September 17. Except for southern boundary areas waters, most waters of the region were extended through September 30.

Troll effort targeting enhanced chum salmon returning to the NSRAA release site in Crawfish Inlet has continued to decline as we approach the end of the season, with a harvest of 3,000 chum salmon by 10 permits and a catch per landing of 191 chum salmon for the current week. Based on fish tickets received through September 20, approximately 152 permits have harvested 255,000 chum salmon at an average weight of 7.6 lbs. in Crawfish Inlet. Little to no effort targeting enhanced Deep Inlet chum salmon in the Sitka Sound area has occurred during the current week. Through September 20, a total of 184 trollers landed 122,000 chum salmon in Sitka Sound. The average weight for Sitka Sound chum salmon is 8.1 lbs., and the average price for both chum salmon areas is $0.98/lb.

Based on fish tickets received through September 20, a total of 118 permits harvested approximately 123,000 chum salmon since July 1 at an average weight of 10.7 lbs. and an average price of $1.01/lb. in the Neets Bay THA/West Behm Canal areas. The Neets Bay THA will remain closed until fall chum salmon broodstock is collected and if additional troll openings can be scheduled they will be announced by News Release.

The 2018–2019 winter troll fishery will open according to regulation at 12:01 a.m., October 11, 2018. The 2018–2019 Winter Troll Fishery Management Plan will be available by early October in all ADF&G area offices and on the troll fishery website.

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

Purse Seine Fishery

There are no more reports for the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine fishery.

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

Drift Gillnet Fishery

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

Tree Point/Section 1-B

The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery was open four days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 16, 2018. Harvest of all species of salmon were below the 10-year average. The effort level of 25 vessels was below the 10-year average of 36 vessels. The estimate of harvest this week was 75 sockeye, 4,000 coho, 25 pink, and 800 chum salmon. The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery is currently being managed based on the strength of fall coho and chum salmon returns. Tree Point will be open two days, beginning at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 23.

For further details concerning this fishery, the 2018 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan is available at area offices or online 2018 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 526 kB)

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

Gillnet fisheries in Districts 6 and 8 were managed based on wild coho salmon abundance during SW38. Both districts opened for 72 hours beginning Sunday, September 16. Coho salmon harvest rates in District 6 were well below average with below average effort.  Harvest rates for coho salmon in District 8 were well below average with below average effort. 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 decreases in the latter part of the month when the hatchery component typically peaks; thus timing is likely past peak for the wild component. Due continued low wild coho salmon abundance both districts will be restricted to a 48-hour opening beginning Sunday, September 23.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

Coho salmon catch rates mirrored the interest of the District 11 drift gillnet fleet this week with both waning precipitously over the two-day opening. As cumulative fishing days over this season start to weigh heavy or other fall fisheries need to be prepared for, not many fishermen will likely wet a net next week. Similar to last week, the most consistent fishing appeared to be in the Point Bishop area where the harvest was largely made up of hatchery coho salmon returning to release sites in Gastineau Channel.

The Taku River coho salmon run size projection fell from last week to just over 70,000 fish. The run is currently more than 80% through the fish wheels based on historical run timing and with reduced catch rates in District 11, a falling run size projection, and the US obligation to pass 75,000 fish inriver under terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, it's time to pull back on the reins.

District 11 will open for one day next week in what will likely be that last opening of the season.

Lynn Canal/District 15

District 15 drift gillnet fishery opened on September 16 for two days in Section 15A and in Section 15C. Chilkat Inlet remained closed north of Twin Coves.

Chilkoot Lake sockeye salmon escapement has achieved goal and the Chilkoot Lake weir has been pulled. Chilkat Lake sockeye salmon escapement has achieved the lower end of the escapement goal and the weir continues to operate. Coho and chum salmon escapement are monitored through catches at the Chilkat River fish wheels. Although coho salmon migration appeared strong at first, it has decreased recently. Chum salmon catches in the wheels have been low all fall and stream survey observations indicate very low escapement.

Drift gillnet gear is the most common commercial salmon fish gear in District 15. The number of tenders representing multiple seafood processers was adequate for the estimated 50 fishing vessels participating.

An estimated 3,500 chum salmon were harvested which is one fourth of the 10-year average for this stat week. Coho salmon harvests were estimated at 7,000 fish which is just below the 10-year average. Sockeye salmon harvest are very low due to most of the fleet fishing using fall gear with larger mesh sizes to target chum and coho salmon.

Next week (sw 39) District 15 will be open for two days in section 15-C only.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

Effort in the Yakutat District was down this week. With several weeks of no rain, rivers are extremely low and clear and are potentially hampering net efficiency. The Situk-Ahnklin Inlet, Yakutat Bay, and Esker Creek were the only areas fished this week. Yakutat Bay and Esker Creek were both fished by fewer than three permits, and harvest information is confidential. In the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 62 permits harvested approximately 9,000 coho salmon. In the Yakataga District, the Tsiu, Seal, and Kaliakh rivers were fished this by fewer than three permits and harvest information is confidential. All other fisheries were opened but not fished.

The escapement goals for coho salmon have been obtained in the Situk, Lost, and Tsiu/Tsivat rivers. Coho salmon in these areas will continue to be monitored to establish peak escapement counts. The Situk River biological escapement goal (BEG) for both sockeye and Chinook salmon fell shy of the goal this year. The BEG for Chinook salmon was obtained at the Klukshu River weir in Canada and the sockeye salmon count is quickly approaching the lower bound BEG range of 7,500-11,000 fish.  Fishing effort and catch rates are slowing down and the 2018 fishing season is coming to an end. Yakutat Seafoods announced they will continue to buy fish through the second week of October.

Terminal Harvest Area (THA) Fisheries

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

Nakat Inlet THA

The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 260,300 and for fall chum salmon is 56,890. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Friday, June 1, 2018. The Nakat Inlet harvest through statistical week 38 is 168,000 chum salmon, or 52% of the total forecast. This total includes 63,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear and 6,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear in the traditional fishery and 99,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,347,900, for fall chum salmon is 59,400, for Chinook salmon is 18,100, and for coho salmon is 82,716. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and purse seine gear on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. The Neets Bay chum salmon harvest through statistical week 38 is approximately 1,002,000 salmon. This total includes 158,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 42,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear, and 100,000 chum salmon harvested by troll gear in the traditional fishery and 94,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 18,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear, 33,000 chum salmon harvested by troll gear, 390,000 chum salmon harvested for cost recovery in the THA, and 168,000 chums reserved for broodstock. The harvest of Chinook salmon in the Neets Bay THA is 4,300 salmon by purse seine gear and 2,500 salmon by drift gillnet gear.

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

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 632,500 fish. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Friday, June 15, 2018. The Kendrick Bay harvest through statistical week 38 is 436,000 chum salmon, or 69% of the summer forecast. This total includes 235,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 47,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery and 153,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

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

Anita Bay THA

At the time of publication, approximately 11,000 Chinook and 92,000 chum and 2,500 coho salmon have been harvested in Anita Bay. The 2018 preseason forecast for Anita Bay coho salmon is 9,900 fish. The THA is open to all gear groups concurrently until 12:00 noon, November 10.

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 May 1; rotational fisheries began on June 17, with seine openings on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and gillnet openings on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,250,000 chum salmon, 12,700 Chinook salmon, and 66,000 coho salmon. This season, 90,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock. NSRAA does not anticipate cost recovery operations this season in the Deep Inlet THA. Seine harvest to date is 4,400 Chinook salmon and 957,000 chum salmon; gillnet harvest to date is 3,100 Chinook salmon and 310,000 chum salmon.

Hidden Falls THA

To date there have been six common property openings in the Hidden Falls THA. The Hidden Falls THA is currently closed to allow hatchery operators opportunity to collect chum salmon for brood stock. Subsequent openings will be dependent on brood stock collection and inseason run strength. Forecasts indicate that for Hidden Falls THA 593,000 chum, 191,000 coho, and 2,000 Chinook salmon are expected to return in 2018.  NSRAA needs 190,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 403,000 chum salmon available for common property harvests. NSRAA does not intend to use a tax assessment on the common property harvest of chum salmon to satisfy cost recovery needs as provided under AS 16.10.455. Seine harvest through July 12 in the Hidden Falls THA is approximately 1,000 Chinook and 248,400 chum salmon.

Crawfish Inlet THA

There have been five common property opening in the Crawfish Inlet THA. More common property seine openings will occur on Sunday and Thursday of each week from September 16 through September 30. The chum salmon harvest to date for Crawfish Inlet is approximately 3,100,000 chum salmon; approximately 1,756,000 chum salmon have been harvested in the common property seine openings.