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Salmon Fishery Update
Southeast Alaska & Yakutat Commercial Fisheries
Updated Friday, September 19, 2014
This will be the last inseason update of the 2014 season.
Last update for Southeast Alaska troll fishery was stat week 37. Regional power troll coho salmon catch rates for the current week (stat week 37) are 149/day, which represents the highest catch per unit effort on record for week 37. The highest catch rates for this week are within the waters of the Central Outside and Northern Outside areas, averaging 194 and 152 coho per day, respectively. Catch rates are above average in each portion of the region. Coho weights continue to rapidly increase, and are now averaging 7.7 lbs for the current week, with a seasonal average of 6.1 lbs. The average price is currently $1.45/lb with an average summer price of $1.45/lb. The cumulative coho harvest since July 1 is just under 1.74 million, with a peak weekly harvest of 272,000 during the week of July 20-26.
Based on projections by the department that coho escapement goals will be met after considering harvest and effort, the Southeast/Yakutat commercial troll fishery will be extended through September 30, as announced in a news release dated September 10. Projections for wild coho abundance and wild commercial coho harvest are both above average, at 4.3 million and 2.32 million respectively. This will be the 13th year since 1994 that the troll fishery was extended. During past coho season extension periods, an average of 0.6% of the annual troll coho harvest was taken and effort was relatively low.
The second Chinook salmon retention period of the summer was opened from August 14 through 18 to target the 36,051 fish remaining on the annual troll treaty quota. The fishery was extended an additional 2 days from initially announced 3-day opening based on poor weather and reduced effort during the fishery. Preliminary estimates indicate a treaty harvest of approximately 54,000 fish by 651 permits, with an average weight of 11.6 lbs and average price of $3.52.
The 2014–2015 winter troll fishery will open according to regulation at 12:01 a.m., October 11, 2014. The 2014–2015 Winter Troll Fishery Management Plan will be available by early October in all ADF&G area offices and on the troll fishery website.
The 2014 Summer Troll Management Plans can be found on the Southeast troll website. Inseason catch and effort data for summer is available on the same site:
Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Fishery
There were no openings in the Southeast Alaska purse seine fishery in stat week 37. The season will likely close next week and that will conclude the 2014 season.
Southeast Drift Gillnet Fishery
Traditional 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 for four days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 7, 2014 (stat week 38). The effort level was above average with 38 vessels participating. The harvest was below average for sockeye salmon, pink salmon, and chum salmon and average for coho salmon. Total harvest estimate for the week is 10 Chinook salmon, 100 sockeye salmon, 9,000 coho salmon, 600 pink salmon, and 7,000 chum salmon. Tree Point drift gillnet fishery is currently being managed based on the strength of returning wild stock coho salmon and fall chum salmon. The Hugh Smith weir which is located in Boca De Quadra has passed 950 adult coho salmon at this time. The escapement goal is 500-1,600 fish. Based on coho salmon harvests and escapement, Tree Point will be open for four days beginning 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 14, 2014.
Prince of Wales and Stikine/Districts 6 and 8
Management focus of the District 6 and 8 gillnet fishery for this week’s opener beginning September 14 (stat week 38) was based on wild coho salmon abundance. Both districts opened for 96 hours. The catch rates in both districts continued to be above average this week. The number of participants continued to decrease this week and was below average. The hatchery component for coho salmon harvested this week is estimated to be approximately 50%. The proportion of the hatchery component will continue to increase steadily during the next few weeks. Both districts will open for 96 hours beginning Sunday, September 21.
The most recent Stikine River sockeye salmon inseason abundance estimate is 227,000 fish, well above the 152,000 fish preseason forecast. The last inseason assessment for Stikine River king salmon made on June 20 was for a terminal run size of 26,000 fish.
The District 11 fishery saw above average, but daily decreasing effort levels this week (stat week 38). Catch rates for coho and chum were both generally below average, but the change in weather at the end of the period saw improved catch rates of both species resulting in an above average coho catch for the week. This week’s Taku River coho salmon inriver run projection declined slightly to 141,000 fish with the run 74% through its historical timing. This puts approximately 104,000 coho salmon currently above-border, exceeding the 75,000 fish above border US management objective, and the 89,500 fish escapement past all fisheries exceeds the 2014 bilateral escapement objective of 70,000 Taku coho salmon. The size of the fleet is anticipated to decline with weaker fishing and boats moving to other fisheries, and with no escapement concerns for Taku River coho salmon, Section 11B will open for 5 days in stat week 39. The Speel Arm SHA will be closed, but the throat of Port Snettisham will remain open.
Lynn Canal/District 15
For stat week 38, the District 15 gillnet fishery was open for two days south of Seduction Point. The fishing effort was below average, with an estimated 55 boats participating. The chum salmon harvest was about 25% of the average, and while the coho salmon catch was average, the catch per unit effort for coho was twice the average. Sockeye salmon harvest was one third of the average. The harvest estimate for this week is 200 sockeye salmon, 11,000 coho salmon, and 3,800 chum salmon.
With fall season management in effect, the focus is on the strength of the returns of coho and chum salmon. The coho salmon return in this district is strong, and the troll fishery indicates that coho salmon abundance is high in northern southeast Alaska. The coho salmon catch in the Chilkat River fish wheels is well above average. The catch of chum salmon in the Chilkat River fish wheels catch is below average, but projecting an escapement within goals. The low abundance of chum salmon in the commercial harvest and the relative weakness in the fish wheels indicates a need for a conservative management strategy at this time. Chilkat Lake sockeye escapement continues to be low, and this management strategy will also serve to further reduce fishing pressure on the late portion of this stock.
In District 15, Section 15-A will be open south of the northernmost tip of Sullivan Island for two days. All of section 15-C will also be open for two days.
Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery
This is the last update for the Yakutat set gillnet fishery, stat week 37. Inclement weather and subsequent flood conditions severely hampered fishing effort this week in Yakutat, for stat week 37. In the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 60 permits harvested 20,000 coho salmon. In the Tsiu River, nine permits harvested 11,000 coho salmon. The Tsiu River fishery remains on “trip limits” due to the shortage of aircraft to haul product to market. Fewer than three permits fished the Akwe River, and harvest information for the Akwe remains confidential. All other Yakutat systems were open, but not fished this week.
An aerial survey of the Tsiu River on September 9 revealed 22,000 fish above the markers; this is above the mid-range in the biological escapement goal (BEG) of 10,000 to 29,000 fish. A float survey of the Situk River on August 29 revealed 8,200 coho salmon; this is near the top end of the Situk River BEG of 9.800 fish. The attainment of these BEGs virtually insures that fishing periods for coho salmon will be on extended times through the end of the coho salmon season. The Yakutat set gillnet fishing season will remain open through the second week of October.
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.
Nakat Inlet THA
The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 280,000 and for fall chum salmon is 10,000. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Sunday, June 1, 2014. The total estimated harvest is 188,000 chum salmon, or 65% of the forecast. Harvest includes 75,000 gillnet-harvested chum salmon inside the Nakat Inlet THA, plus approximately 99,000 gillnet-harvested and 14,000 purse seine-harvested chum salmon in traditional common property fisheries.
Neets Bay THA
The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,800,000 fish, the fall chum salmon is 140,000 fish, for Chinook salmon is 18,100 fish, and for coho salmon is 296,000 fish. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by all gear groups on Thursday, May 1, 2014. The estimated harvest of chum salmon inside the Neets Bay THA is 6,300 Chinook salmon and 6,000 chum salmon by purse seine and 3,200 Chinook salmon and 900 chum salmon harvested by gillnet. In the traditional common property fisheries, the estimated harvest of Neets Bay summer chum salmon is approximately 196,000 seine-harvested chums, 61,000 gillnet-harvested chum salmon and 127,000 harvested by the troll fleet. Cost recovery to date has harvested approximately 577,000 chum salmon with another 178,000 for broodstock needs.
Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 700,000 fish. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Sunday, June 15, 2014. The total harvest is estimated at 452,000 chum salmon, or 65% of the forecast. Of this harvest, approximately 103,000 fish have been harvested inside the Kendrick Bay THA and 333,000 fish have been harvested by seine and 16,000 fish by gillnet outside the Terminal Harvest Area (THA) in common property fisheries.
Anita Bay THA
In 2014, approximately 15,400 king salmon, 501,000 summer chum, and 15,500 coho salmon are expected to return. The cumulative gillnet harvest to date is 7,000 king salmon, 45,000 chum, and 500 coho salmon.
Deep Inlet THA
The Deep Inlet THA rotational fishing schedule for seine and gillnet began on June 1. Forecast returns for the Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,170,000 chum salmon, 36,200 Chinook salmon, and 10,000 coho salmon. Deep Inlet closed to all common property commercial fisheries on Saturday, August 16 to ensure NSRAA achieved their broodstock goals this season. The Deep Inlet rotational fishery re-opened on September 3 starting with one day of troll, followed by one day of seine then one day of gillnet. During the initial open periods last week, trollers harvested 3,000, seiners harvested 136,000, and gillnetters harvested 30,000 chum salmon. The rotational fishery will continue through September. To date seiners have harvested 355,000 and gillnetters have harvested 197,000 chum salmon in the terminal harvest area. It is estimated seiners harvested an additional 45,000 hatchery chum salmon in the traditional seine fishery in Sitka Sound and trollers harvested 18,000 outside of the THA. The total return, including broodstock is now estimated at approximately 870,000 chum salmon, 74% of forecast.
Hidden Falls THA
Update for stat week 38. The Deep Inlet Terminal Harvest Area (THA) rotational fishing schedule for purse seine and gillnet began on June 1. Forecast returns for the Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,170,000 chum salmon, 36,200 Chinook salmon, and 10,000 coho salmon. Deep Inlet closed to all common property commercial fisheries on Saturday, August 16 to ensure Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) achieved their broodstock goals this season. The Deep Inlet rotational fishery re-opened on September 3 starting with one day of troll, followed by one day of seine, then one day of gillnet. The rotational fishery will continue through September. During the previous week, seiners harvested 48,000 chum salmon and gillnetters harvested 32,000 chum salmon. For the season, seiners have harvested 568,000 chum salmon and 1,300 chinook salmon and gillnetters have harvested 278,000 chum salmon and 3,400 Chinook salmon in the terminal harvest area. It is estimated seiners harvested an additional 45,000 hatchery chum salmon in the traditional seine fishery in Sitka Sound and trollers harvested 18,000 outside of the THA. The total return, including broodstock is now estimated at approximately 1,000,000 chum salmon, 85% of forecast.
Hidden Falls THA
Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 1,072,000 chum salmon, 6,100 king salmon, and 188,000 coho salmon. The first common property purse seine opening occurred on June 15 and closed for the season on July 31. The total common property chum salmon harvest for the season is approximately 250,000. The total return to date is 426,000 chum salmon.