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Salmon Fishery Update
Southeast Alaska & Yakutat Commercial Fisheries

Updated Friday, May 27, 2016

Troll Fishery
The 2016 spring troll season opened April 15, and will continue through June 30. Most spring troll areas have opened to date, with the last two remaining areas yet to open scheduled for initial openings during the week of June 12. Through May 26 (week 22), approximately 377 permit holders have made 1,462 landings, with a total of 13,024 Chinook salmon harvested.  This is an increase in effort from both 2015 and the 5-year average.  The 2016 cumulative spring Chinook harvest through May 26 is up from 2015 and the 5-year average by 3,755 and 5,916 chinook salmon, respectively. The current spring seasonal average weight for Chinook of 11.3 pounds is below the 2015 average of 12.9 pounds and below the 5-year average of 13.1 pounds.  The seasonal Chinook  average price per pound of $9.17 is a $1.68 increase from 2015, an increase of $2.68 from the 5-year average. 

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, commercial and sport fisheries in District 8 continued to be below average. Inriver catches and marine harvest in sport and spring troll fisheries will continue to be monitored. 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
Salmon harvest from Anita Bay is confidential at this time. The 2016 Anita Bay THA forecast includes 387,000 summer chum, 16,500 king, and 15,000 coho salmon. 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.