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2016 Inseason Alaska Commercial Salmon Summary

This summary provides management, harvest, and escapement information for the Alaska commercial salmon fishing season. This summary will be updated each Friday between mid-May and September. Please note, inseason harvest data published in this summary are preliminary and subject to change. For more information on the Blue Sheet, inseason summaries, and harvest timing charts, please see our Blue Sheet, Inseason Summary, and Harvest Timing Charts Overview page.

Updated Friday, July 22, 2016

Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery

The general summer  troll season opened July 1, as did the first Chinook salmon retention period, which closed by emergency order on July 5. Catch rates were well above average, while effort was lower than anticipated. A news release issued on July 20 announced a preliminary estimated harvest of 107,000 treaty Chinook. That harvest represents 62% of the summer troll allocation, and the estimated 69,000 remaining treaty Chinook will be harvested during a second retention period in mid-August.

With the close of the first Chinook retention period, trollers have continued to fish for other salmon species.  The current regional power troll coho salmon catch rates for this week (SW 30), at 105/boat/day, are above the 20-year average, but below 2015. Catch rates are highest in the Southern Outside and Central Outside areas. The cumulative coho harvest since July 1 is approximately 377,000, at an average weight of 5.9 lbs., and an average price is $1.20/lb. Coho run strength will be assessed the first week of August and the department will determine the need for and length of a mid-August troll closure.

Troll effort in West Behm Canal targeting chum salmon returning to the Neets Bay hatchery has decreased over the last week and currently includes approximately 50 boats. Based on fish tickets received through July 21, the average catch/landing for the current week is 214. A total of 67 permits have harvested approximately 95,000 chum since July 1, at an average weight of 9.7 pounds, and an average price of $.63/lb. The area open to trolling expanded by regulation on July 13 to include most of West Behm Canal.

Purse Seine Fishery

The 2016 Southeast Alaska common property purse seine fishery is now in its fifth week. Regional cumulative harvest estimates for purse seine gear as of July 21 are 3.2 million pink and 1.5 million chum salmon. During statistical week 30, fishing occurred on July 17 and a mid-week seine opening occurred on July 21.

Seine effort during the July 17 fishing period included 60 boats in District 2, 50 in District 1, 43 in District 4, 33 in Section 7-A, 22 at Deep Inlet THA, 10 in District 3, 9 at Point Augusta, and 3 boats in Section 13-A. The largest harvests occurred in District 1 with 300,000 salmon harvested, District 2 with 290,000, District 4 with 180,000, Section 7-A with 130,000, and Point Augusta with 110,000 salmon harvested. Pink salmon harvest per boat was highest at Point Augusta with 10,700 fish, District 1 with 5,600, District 2 with 4,200, and District 4 with 3,500 fish per boat. Chum salmon harvest per boat was highest in Section 7-A with 2,400 fish, Section 13-A with 1,600 fish, Point Augusta with 1,500 fish, and Deep Inlet THA with 1,400 fish per boat.

The mid-week seine opening on July 14 included portions of Districts 1, 2, 3, 7, 11, and 13. Harvest information for this opening is not available at the time of this update.

Harvest of Southeast Alaska pink salmon through the week of July 17 typically accounts for about 10% of the overall harvest in Southern Southeast Alaska districts and about 20% of the overall harvest in Northern Southeast. Early indications are for a total harvest near the preseason forecast of 34 million fish with the majority of the harvest projected in Southern Southeast districts. Early indications of pink salmon escapement are normal for Southern Southeast and below normal for Northern Southeast. To date, the pink salmon return is typical of recent even-year returns with the exception of low male:female sex ratios in some districts, suggesting that run-timing may be early. 

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 was open for four days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, July 17, 2016. The effort level of 37 vessels was below the 10-year average of 47.  Overall, the Tree Point gillnet fishery is below average for every species except pink salmon. The estimated weekly King salmon harvest was 25, below the 10-year average of 75. The sockeye salmon harvest was 2,800, below the 10-year average of 5,500. The coho salmon harvest was 700, which is well below the 10-year average of 2,000. The pink salmon harvest was 65,000, more than 1.5 times the 10-year average of 40,000. The chum salmon harvest was 9,500, which is a sharp decline from previous weeks and well below the average of 36,000 The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery is now being managed according to the District 1 Pink Salmon Management Plan, when the Tree Point Fishery is managed based on the amount of fishing time allotted to the District 1 Purse Seine Fishery.  The Tree Point gillnet fishery will reopen on Sunday, July 24 at noon for four days.  For additional information concerning this fishery, see the 2016 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 486 kB). The plan is also available at area offices.

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

Districts 6 and 8 gillnet fishery was managed for sockeye salmon abundance during week 30. Both districts were opened for an initial 72 hour period on Sunday, July 17. A 24 hour extension was announced from the grounds. Effort was below the 10-year average in District 6 and near average in District 8 with participants experiencing sockeye salmon harvest rates above the 10-year average in both districts. Additionally, inseason assessments of the Stikine River sockeye run size point towards a run size larger than the preseason forecast. Historical run timing for sockeye stocks in District 6 includes local stocks mixed in with Stikine River sockeye during this period. Fish returning to local systems is expected to be near average based on parent year escapements. The preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon is 223,000 fish, which is well above the recent ten years average of 172,000 fish. 

For week 31, both districts will open on Sunday, July 24 for 72 hours with management emphasis on sockeye salmon abundance. Beginning in August, both districts will transition to pink salmon abundance management.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

 Week 30 was the fourth consecutive opening in District 11 that started with two days and then had extended fishing time provided. This reluctance to start with more days is a sure sign of apprehension regarding the strength of the Taku River sockeye salmon run. Sockeye salmon catch rates this week were consistently above-average throughout the opening for the first time this season, so perhaps the run will begin to show up in the above-average manner that was forecasted. Eighty-five boats fished in the district this week which was a significant step up from the last couple weeks. To put things in perspective, though, effort increased to 75% of the recent 10-year average this week from 50% of average in previous weeks, so overall effort is way down this season.

Although sockeye salmon catch rates increased, there was also an increase in the contribution of Snettisham Hatchery fish in the district with otolith analyses revealing 20% of the Taku Inlet harvest and 50% of the Stephens Passage harvest comprised of these fish. The current Taku River sockeye salmon run estimate results in a reduction of US Allowable Catch (AC) of 45,000 fish from last week and even though progression towards the escapement target appears on track, there is not much wiggle room for overly liberal openings.

Week 30 chum salmon harvest will likely be the highest weekly total of the season with an estimated 130,000 fish netted in the district although catch rates decreased from last week. Several fishermen commented that the chum salmon were "looking tired" and a much more significant decline in abundance is expected next week. Pink salmon catch rates continue to be lackluster mirroring the Taku River cumulative fish wheel catch which hasn't been this low since 1986.  

The Speel Lake weir is in place and a couple of sockeye salmon have passed into the lake with another group of 50 or so waiting downstream. The forecast is calling for some serious rain in the next few days which should push more fish into the lake. With indicators of strong abundance of Snettisham Hatchery sockeye salmon in several fisheries in the northern part of the region, a Speel Arm Special Harvest Area fishery may become a reality in the next few weeks. In the meantime, District 11 gillnetters are appreciating the increased harvest of these fish in the common property openings. The mesh restriction south of Circle Point intended to minimize the harvest of wild Port Snettisham sockeye salmon will remain in place for another week or two.  

District 11 will open for another two days starting July 24. Department personnel will be closely monitoring harvest and effort during the opening and looking forward to continuing the trend of providing extended fishing time if warranted.

Lynn Canal/District 15

The Lynn Canal (District 15) drift gillnet fishery in Section 15-A will open for two days beginning Sunday, July 24. The escapement of sockeye salmon into the Chilkoot River is currently within goal, with a total 24,600 fish through the weir as of July 20, 2016. The catch of sockeye salmon in the Chilkat River fish wheels and the sonar counts at Chilkat Lake are below average for this time of year.  The gillnet fishery in Section 15-A will open south of Seduction Point to allow the harvest of sockeye salmon in excess of escapement needs.

In Section 15-C management will focus on harvesting hatchery chum salmon while providing escapement within goal ranges for wild northbound salmon stocks. There will not be a mesh restriction in Section 15-C this week, allowing for the harvest of the predicted smaller average sized chum salmon. Section 15-C south of Point Bridget will open for one day beginning Sunday, July 17, and for a second day in the "Postage Stamp" area, allowing the fleet to continue harvesting hatchery chums while reducing the harvest of northbound sockeye salmon.

The harvest for the District 15 opening in statistical week 30 (July 17-23) was estimated to be 102,000 chum salmon, 30,000 sockeye salmon, 20 Chinook salmon, 10,000 pink salmon and 50 coho salmon.  The harvest of sockeye salmon was about 1.5 times the proceeding 10-year average harvest, and the harvest of chum salmon was about 82% of the proceeding 10-year average. An estimated 110 boats participated in the fishery, just below the average number of boats.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

After two weeks of no rain and warm weather, a flood event affected the fishing effort in the Alsek River. The fishery performance was well below average and the fishing period was not extended beyond one day. The East River was opened for one day and five permits harvested just fewer than 500 sockeye salmon. The Akwe River was closed to commercial fishing due to low escapement counts. The Dangerous, Sudden, and Spoon rivers were fished by fewer than three permits and harvest information is confidential. In Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 35 permits harvested 2,800 sockeye and 500 pink salmon. The fishing effort in Yakutat Bay dropped by nearly 50% from that of the previous openings and 7 permits harvested 200 sockeye and 65 pink salmon. Five permits fished the Manby Shore fishery and harvested 1,300 sockeye salmon. The Italio River escapement counts are building and may open by emergency order when optimal escapement counts have been observed. Pink and coho salmon are showing up in most of the Yakutat fisheries now but not in great abundance yet. The coho salmon return is expected to be average to above average.

43,500 sockeye salmon have passed by the Situk River weir, and the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) for sockeye salmon has been attained. 282 large Chinook salmon have passed the weir and 80% of the run is over, which means the BEG will not be attained if the run is on time.  The Canadian weir on the Klukshu River has passed small numbers of sockeye and Chinook salmon through the weir but it is too early for salmon counts to mean anything significant.

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.

Anita Bay THA

The 2016 Anita Bay Terminal Hatchery Area (THA) forecast includes 387,000 summer chum and 15,000 coho salmon. Anita Bay THA is currently open to drift gillnet and purse seine as a rotational fishery with a time ratio of one to one and will change to a time ratio of two to one in week 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 SSRAA website. The estimated harvest to date is 3,000 Chinook and 20,000 chum salmon.

Boat Harbor THA

The Boat Harbor THA will remain open until further notice in those waters within one mile of the western shoreline of Lynn Canal south of Danger Point to allow the harvest of the hatchery chums while minimizing the harvest of wild salmon stocks returning to the rivers along the western shoreline of lower Lynn Canal, as well as reducing the harvest of Chilkat River bound sockeye salmon.

Deep Inlet THA

The Deep Inlet THA rotational fisheries began on May 28. The schedule changes next week and will allow for seine openings on Sunday and Wednesday; and gillnets openings on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Forecast returns for the Deep Inlet Terminal Hatchery Area (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. On July 17, 22 seiners harvested approximately 34,000 chum salmon, and on July 18-20, 25 gillnetters harvested approximately 170 Chinook salmon and 56,000 chum salmon.  To date 324,000 chum salmon has been harvested in the Deep Inlet THA net fisheries, including 58,000 fish harvested for cost recovery and 4,000 fish for broodstock. Compared to 656,000 chum salmon harvested by this week in 2015. NSRAA anticipates a closure of the THA, in early August, will be necessary to complete cost recovery needs. Total return of chum salmon to the Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery, for this date, is below forecast.

Hidden Falls THA

The first common property purse seine opening in the Hidden Falls THA opened on June 19 with a 15-hour opening. Forecast returns for Hidden Falls Terminal Hatchery Area (THA) includes 1,433,000 chum salmon, 5,400 king salmon, and 194,000 coho salmon.  NSRAA requires 190,000 chum salmon for broodstock needs. To date approximately 17,000 chum salmon have been harvested in the common property seine fishery, 99,000 chum salmon have been placed behind the barrier net for broodstock and 9,000 chum harvested for cost recovery, for a total harvest of 125,000 chum salmon. Compared to 130,000 chum salmon harvested by this week in 2015.  NSRAA staff estimates an additional 60,000 chum salmon in Kasnyku Bay. Cost recovery has been suspended and no common property openings will be provided until broodstock and cost recovery requirements are met. Total return of chum salmon to the Hidden Falls THA, for this date, is well below forecast.

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay Terminal Harvest Area (THA) summer chum salmon is 868,000. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. The Kendrick Bay harvest of chum salmon through statistical week 30 is 366,000 salmon, or 42% of the forecasted return. This total includes 305,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 15,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery and 60,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

Nakat Inlet THA

The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet Terminal Harvest Area (THA) summer chum salmon is 260,000 and for fall chum salmon is 82,800. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. The Nakat Inlet harvest through statistical week 30 is approximately 175,000 chum salmon, or 67% of the summer forecast. This total includes 70,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear and 20,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear in the traditional fishery and 85,000 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.

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay Terminal Harvest Area (THA) 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. The Neets Bay harvest of chum salmon through statistical week 30 is approximately 429,000 salmon, or 35% of the summer forecast. This total includes 134,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 25,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery and 126,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine and 4,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the THA. An additional 140,000 have been harvested for cost recovery inside the THA. The harvest of King salmon in the Neets Bay THA through statistical week 30 is 1,617 salmon by drift gillnet gear and 3,000 salmon by purse seine gear. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

PWS Inseason Harvest Summary by District

PWS Inseason Harvest by District and Period

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet

The Copper River District opened to commercial fishing for a 48-hour fishing period on July 14 and a 36-hour fishing period on July 18. These were the nineteenth and twentieth fishing periods of the 2016 season. A 36-hour fishing period is scheduled for the Copper River District on July 21. The Coghill District was open for an 84-hour fishing period starting on Thursday, July 14 and a 60-hour period on July 18. The Eshamy District was open for an 84-hour fishing period on Thursday, July 14 and a 60-hour fishing period on Monday, July 18. The Port Chalmers Subdistrict is open on a two fishing period per week schedule with 60-hour fishing periods on Mondays and 84-hour fishing periods on Thursdays.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 8. To date, about 780,169 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site versus and anticipated range of 604,987–936,371. Escapement monitoring at the Coghill River Weir started on June 10. To date, about 8,299 sockeye salmon have been enumerated at the weir site versus and anticipated range of 17,586–52,759.

Waters inside of the barrier islands from Steamboat Anchorage to the eastern edge of the district were open during all of the last two fishing periods due to Chinook salmon run timing and harvest indicating that the run is near completion. Portions of the Esther and Granite Bay subdistricts within the Coghill District, were open for a total of 42 hours last week to keep up with enhanced chum salmon run entry while providing for Coghill Lake sockeye salmon conservation. Fishing period duration in the Eshamy District is tied, by regulation, to returns to the district and period duration is being limited to match run entry of salmon returning to the district. Fishing time and/or area restrictions are in effect in the Eshamy and Coghill districts to increase run entry of sockeye salmon into Coghill River.

The preliminary harvest from the nineteenth Copper River District commercial fishing period was 37,227 sockeye and 4 Chinook salmon. The preliminary harvest from the twentieth Copper River District commercial fishing period was 28,484 sockeye and 80 Chinook salmon. The nineteenth period harvest was below the anticipated harvest of 48,395 sockeye and below the anticipated harvest of 21 Chinook salmon. The twentieth period harvest was below the anticipated harvest of 52,413 sockeye and below the anticipated harvest of 15 Chinook salmon. This year's Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon runs are well below last year's runs, well below forecast, and in the context of the past couple decades these runs were bad and average, respectively. Common property chum salmon harvest in western PWS gillnet fisheries is ahead of anticipated, while sockeye salmon harvest in these fisheries is below anticipated. The western PWS chum salmon common property fishery is better than last year and will likely come in slightly above forecast, so definitely a good season, especially considering the large hatchery cost recovery and broodstock requirement this year. The western PWS sockeye salmon fisheries, both wild and enhanced, are well under forecast and weaker than last year, and represent a bad season in a historical context. Main Bay Hatchery sockeye salmon run will likely come in about a third of forecast and the Coghill Lake wild sockeye run is currently about one-half the minimum anticipated escapement at this point.

Break-up of the Copper River is ahead of normal and river water levels are now above average for this date. Cost recovery on enhanced chum salmon was initiated by Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) on Wednesday, June 8 and was completed on June 21. Broodstock collection and egg take at both Wally Noerenberg Hatchery (WNH) and Main Bay Hatchery (MBH) are near completion.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine

In the Southwestern District, the Armin F. Koernig Hatchery Terminal Harvest Area (THA) and Special Harvest Area (SHA) opened to commercial fishing for 14-hour periods (6:00 am to 8:00 pm) on July 15 and July 17.

Aerial surveys of all districts are expected to be conducted as soon as possible, weather depending, to further assess the strength of wild stock returns throughout PWS. Based on the most recent aerial survey data, the department does not anticipate that these stocks will sustain a consistent schedule of openings at this time. The Coghill River weir has passed 14,354 pink salmon as of 7/21, which is above average for this date.

As of Thursday, July 21, approximately 217,000 chum salmon have been harvested by the commercial  Common Property Fishery (CPF)within the AFK Hatchery THA and SHA. The anticipated harvest for July 20 was 388,000. A total of 394,000 chum salmon are forecast to return to AFK Hatchery. The historical run timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 – July 27.

The 2016 Solomon Gulch Hatchery (SGH) pink salmon run timing appeared to come in on time this year, but has come in well below the preseason forecast of 17.4 million fish. A commercial fishing period targeting Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) pink salmon has not occurred since July 13.

Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) has observed small numbers of returning pink salmon at AFK, Wally Noerenberg Hatchery (WNH), and Cannery Creek Hatchery (CCH). PWSAC reports that cost recovery of pink salmon at WNH on Thursday, July 21, was approximately 5,000 fish with an average weight of 3.4 pounds per fish. Cost recovery is expected to stand down until harvest is warranted.

It is estimated that between 190 and 200 purse seine permit holders are currently participating in the PWS purse seine fishery. The majority of the PWS purse seine fleet is targeting Solomon Gulch Hatchery pink salmon. Currently, commercial salmon fishery openers targeting Solomon Gulch Hatchery pink salmon are being managed to allow for VFDA brood stock acquisition and to assure wild stock escapements throughout the Eastern District.

VFDA began its cost recovery sales program on June 28, and has collected approximately 98% of the assigned pink salmon revenue goal through July 21. VFDA estimates it currently has 200,000 pink salmon in the waters near the hatchery as of Thursday, July 21 and estimates total escapement needs to be approximately 475,000 pink salmon (25,000 for cost recovery and 450,000 for broodstock). An aerial survey conducted on July 20 indicated a buildup of pink salmon within the lower portion of Port Valdez and the Valdez Arm. However, acquisition of broodstock has slowed at SGH and VFDA has recommended no commercial fishery openers targeting VFDA pink salmon within Port Valdez or Valdez Arm until broodstock estimates increase.

It is estimated that 489,000 pink salmon were harvested in eastern PWS on Wednesday, July 13, with 168 deliveries reported. The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest in the Eastern district through July 21 is estimated at 4.8 million CPF and 1.5 million VFDA cost recovery fish, for a total of 6.3 million fish. This is well below the 10-year Eastern district average harvest level of 10.8 million fish for this date.

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Bristol Bay

The Bristol Bay Daily Run Summary

The peak of the 2016 season salmon run occurred on Wednesday July 13th and the total catch peaked on Saturday July 16th .

The Egegik District

Through July 20 cumulative escapement is 1.7 million sockeye and within the escapement goal range of 800,000 to 2,000,000. Cumulative harvest is 7.64 million fish compared to the forecast of 5.74 million. The total run projection for the Egegik District is currently ranging between 9.5 and 10.1 million fish. On average through July 20, the run is approximately 98% complete. In 2015 it was 95% complete. The fishery is currently open continuously until 9:00 a.m. Friday July 29 to provide opportunity to utilize fish surplus to escapement needs. Preliminary allocation between gear groups is 82% drift and 18% set gillnet. Regulation stipulates 86% drift and 14% set gillnet. The inriver test fishery finished operating for the season on July 15 and the escapement counting tower is still operating. Daily escapements are in the 30,000 fish range, approximately 2% of the total escapement per day.

The Ugashik District

Through July 20 cumulative escapement is 1.36 million sockeye and likely to exceed the upper end of the escapement goal range of 500,000 to 1,400,000. On average through July 20, the run is approximately 94% complete. In 2015 it was 90% complete. The total run projection for the Ugashik District is currently around 8 million. Through July 20, the total run is 7.6 million and is the largest since statehood. The total harvest is 6.2 million and approximately 110,000 fish short of becoming the largest catch for the district since statehood. It is likely to reach and exceed that number in the next couple of days. Commercial fishing is currently open continuously until 9:00 a.m. Friday July 29 to provide opportunity to utilize fish surplus to escapement needs. Allocation between gear groups is 90% drift and 10% set gillnet. Regulation stipulates 90% drift and 10% set gillnet. The inriver test fishery finished operation for the season on July 18 and the escapement counting tower is still operating. Daily escapement for July 20 was 59,000 sockeye, approximately 4% of the total escapement. The project typically operates until around July 27.

Note: by regulation the period for calculating the allocation between gear groups in Bristol Bay runs from 12:00 a.m. June 1 to 9:00 a.m. July 17.

The Nushagak District

Fishing has been continuous for both gear types in throughout the district since July 16.

Escapement enumeration is done for the Nushagak and Wood rivers. Both of those systems had solid escapements in the upper halves of their escapement goal ranges. The Igushik enumeration project is still going and fish passage is strong. It is likely that escapement will pass the upper end of the escapement goal range by July 21st.

Effort is certainly dropping as the transfer period has ended and folks are finishing their seasons. Weather has also been a factor.

Harvest has surpassed forecast and now stands at 7.8 million sockeye salmon. This ranks 2016 as the 4th largest harvest on record for the Nushagak District.  Biologically speaking this has been an above average year.

The Togiak District

Togiak is open for the regular weekly schedule.   Tower crew is counting. Escapement is slightly below expected given normal run timing, however an aerial survey of the river does indicate good fish passage into the river. Escapement ticked up for a better than expected daily count on July 20th.

Participation seems to be about average to a little above average at this time.

Harvest is looking a little above average at 417,000, but slightly below expected considering normal run timing. It is too early to make any qualifying statements about the season so far.

The Naknek-Kvichak District

In the Naknek-Kvichak District through July 20: the Naknek River cumulative escapement is 1.6 million sockeye salmon which is within the escapement goal range of 800,000 to 2 million million.  The Kvichak River escapement is 4.1 million sockeye salmon which is within the escapement goal range of 2 million to 10 million. Daily harvest has averaged 800,000 for the last week and total catch is 12.4 million compared to the forecasted harvest of 11.7 million. The harvest allocation was 9% Kvichak set net; 8% Naknek set net; and 83% drift gillnet compared to the regulatory 8%, 8%, and 84%, respectively. This will be the latest run timing on record. Total run to the district is already 6 days later than average. The district will be open to continuous fishing until August 5.

For more Bristol Bay Salmon News Releases and Announcements visit the Bristol Bay announcements page.

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)

Currently in Upper Cook Inlet there are several commercial fisheries underway

  1. Northern District Set Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays - 12 hour periods
  2. Western, Kustatan, and Kalgin Island Subdistrict Set Gillnet fisheries: Mondays and Thursdays - 12 hour periods
    1. Western Subdistrict south of Redoubt Point is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
  3. Central District Drift Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays - 12 hour periods
    1. Additional time is allowed as needed; no hourly limit per week.
  4. Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet fishery (ESSN): Mondays and Thursdays - 12 hour periods
    1. Kenai, Kasilof, and East Foreland sections.
    2. Up to 84 hours of additional time are allowed per week.
    3. Mandatory 36-hour closed period each week on Fridays.

The Kasilof River sockeye salmon enumeration project began on June 15.  Approximately 162,000 sockeye salmon were enumerated through July 20.  The lower end of the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) for this stock (160,000-340,000 fish) was achieved on July 20. For an on-time run, this level of passage projects being near the mid-point of the BEG.

Participation in the three commercial fisheries that are open so far in Upper Cook Inlet is about normal. 

The observed level of passage and harvest in Upper Cook Inlet systems so far this year (through July 11) are near expectations for the forecasted run of 7.1 million sockeye salmon.

The drift gillnet fishery has harvested approximately 932,000 sockeye through July 19.  This level of harvest is below the 10 year average harvest of 1,130,000 fish through July 19.

The Kasilof Section of the Upper Subdistrict opened on June 23 and the Kenai and East Foreland sections opened on July 11.  Approximately 604,000 sockeye salmon and 4,172 king salmon have been harvested in all three sections through July 19.  This level of harvest is above the recent 10-year average harvest of king salmon (3,400 fish) and slightly above the 10-year average harvest of sockeye salmon (643,600 fish).

The Western Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 26,788 sockeye salmon through July 18.

The Northern Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 25,132 sockeye salmon through July 18.

The Kalgin Island Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 16,568 sockeye salmon through July 13.

Harvest estimates through July 21 were not available at the time of this report.

The Kenai River sockeye salmon enumeration project began on July 1.  Approximately 607,000 sockeye salmon have been enumerated in the Kenai River through July 20. This level of passage is well above average for the Kenai River and currently projects exceeding the inriver goal of 1,100,000-1,350,000 fish.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)

Inseason Commercial Salmon Catch by Date

Inseason Commercial Salmon Catch by Area

Purse seine fishing periods in the Southern and Outer districts are ongoing on a schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. openings. Commercial seining in the Kamishak District is on a 24/7 schedule with Chenik Lagoon open. Commercial set gillnet fishing continues on a schedule of two 48 hour periods per week.

The English Bay River sockeye salmon return is within the sustainable escapement goal range of 6,000 - 13,500 sockeye salmon with over half (3,094 fish) of the lower end of the goal passed during the seven day period from July 11-17. The anticipated escapement based on historic escapement timing for this period is 647 - 1,455 sockeye salmon.  The video weir at Mikfik Lake has counted 9,307 sockeye salmon prior to noon on July 8. This is within the final escapement goal of 3,400 - 13,000 fish for this early timed system. Similarly, the Chenik video weir counted 11,356 sockeye salmon as of July 8 towards an escapement goal range of  3,500 - 14,000 fish. Aerial surveys of the southern portion of the Kamishak District documented anticipated levels of sockeye salmon in Amekdedori Creek as well as chum salmon in the Bruin River.

Participation levels for lower Cook Inlet commercial set gillnet and purse seine fisheries are anticipated to remain similar to recent years.

During the first 14 fishing periods in the 2016 season, commercial set gillnet permit holders in the Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet have harvested 746 Chinook, 16,499 sockeye, 13,259 pink, and 1,585 chum salmon. This compares to last year's cumulative harvest of 694 Chinook, 19,469 sockeye, 14,565 pink, and 8,453 chum salmon. The previous 5-year average harvest for the first 14 fishing periods are 285 Chinook, 23,156 sockeye, 4,751 pink, and 3,553 chum salmon. The preseason forecast estimated that a total of 298 Chinook, 28,100 sockeye, and 4,500 chum salmon would be been harvested by set gillnet permit holders in the Southern District in 2016.

Through July 18, purse seine permit holders in the Southern District have harvested 45,257 sockeye, and 19,235 pink salmon during the 13 openings that have occurred this year. This compares to the 2015 harvest level where 21,057 sockeye and 98,196 pink salmon were harvested by this date. The preseason forecast for this gear in the Southern District is 24,500 sockeye and 1,100 chum salmon with an additional 47,000 pink salmon harvested by both this gear and set gillnet combined.

Through July 18 the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association has reported harvesting 119,316 sockeye salmon for cost recovery from hatchery release sites in Cook Inlet.

Elevated ocean temperatures and rapidly melting snowpack will likely continue having an effect on lower Cook Inlet commercial salmon fisheries with regards to run timing as well as freshwater migration patterns and success

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Kodiak

Kodiak

Kodiak Inseason Commercial Harvest Estimates

The Cape Igvak Section of the Mainland District was extended 72 hours on until July 23 to allow fishermen to target Chignik sockeye salmon.  The current Cape Igvak percentage is approximately 13%.

The Cape Alitak, Alitak Bay, Moser Bay, Olga Bay, and Dog Salmon Flats sections of the Alitak District will open for 81 hours on July 22.

The Outer Ayakulik Section of the Southwest Kodiak District will open for 81 hours on July 22. This is the first opening in the Ayakulik area targeting Ayakulik late-run sockeye salmon.

The remainder of the Kodiak Area will open for the third general pink salmon opening July 22. Pink salmon catches for the first two openings were well below average.

Aerial surveys indicated that wild chum salmon stocks in several sections of the Westside of Kodiak were weak and several Inner Bay sections remained closed.

The Seaward Zones of the Dakavak Bay, Outer Kukak Bay, Hallo Bay and Big River sections of the Mainland District and the Seward Zones of the Northwest Afognak and Shuyak Island District closed on July 14.

The Duck Bay and Izhut Bay sections of the Afognak District remain open until further notice. 

The cumulative Karluk River late-run sockeye salmon escapement through July 20 is approximately 8,500 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. Karluk River Chinook salmon escapement is also within the desired range with 3,316 fish counted through the weir.

The cumulative Ayakulik River late-run sockeye salmon escapement through July 20 is approximately 14,000 fish, which is above average for this date.  4,472 Chinook salmon have been counted through the Ayakulik Weir which is within the desired escapement range for this date.

In the Alitak District, the cumulative Upper Station late-run sockeye salmon escapement through July 20 is approximately 547 fish, which is below the desired escapement range for this date.  The cumulative Frazer sockeye salmon sockeye salmon escapement through July 20 is approximately 117,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date.

Pauls Bay, Buskin, Saltery, and Afognak river sockeye salmon runs are tracking within or above the desired escapement goals for this date.

There is little or no information on sockeye runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Little River, Long Lagoon, Thorsheim, Perenosa Bay, and other minor sockeye salmon systems.

Both purse seine and set gillnet participation levels are normal for this date when compared to recent years, with approximately 180 seiners and 150 gillnetters expected to participate.

Kodiak Management Area sockeye salmon harvests are well below average with only 990,000 fish harvested as of July 20.  Pink salmon harvests are below average with 340,000 harvested to date.  Chum salmon harvests are also below average to date with a total harvest of 245,000 fish harvested.

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Alaska Peninsula

Alaska Peninsula Inseason Commercial Harvest Estimates

North Peninsula

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

The weekly fishing period in Nelson Lagoon has been extended and continuous commercial fishing has been occurring for the past three weeks. Catches this week have been steady at about 10,000 sockeye salmon per day in Nelson Lagoon.  The Bear River, Port Moller Bight, Three Hills, and Ilnik sections are open to commercial salmon fishing as the salmon runs into Sandy, Bear, and Ilnik rivers are strong. Fishing has been continuous for the past two weeks. The Outer Port Heiden Section opened to commercial salmon fishing on Monday for 2.5 days. Catches in the Bear River, Three Hills, Ilnik, and Outer Port Heiden sections combined have been about 100,000 sockeye salmon per day. Minimal effort occurred in Black Hills this week.

Ilnik River has passed 84,500 sockeye salmon through July 15 exceeding the July 25 escapement goal of 32,000-48,000 fish. The Ilnik River weir was closed on July 15 for the season. The Ocean River, a tributary of the Ilnik River system, is emptying directly into the Bering Sea this year. Aerial surveys will occur to assess the Ocean River component and will be added to the Ilnik River run. Bear River weir counts have decreased this week as the early run finishes. The July 20 interim escapement objective of 140,000-250,000 fish has been met with 248,000 fish through the weir. The Sandy River sockeye salmon run is very strong with 158,000 fish through the weir, already meeting the July 25 season ending escapement goal of 34,000-74,000 fish; it is the largest escapement on record. The Nelson River weir counts have been strong over the past two weeks and the season ending July 25 escapement goal of 97,000-219,000 was exceeded with 226,000 fish.

The Nelson Lagoon commercial sockeye salmon harvests were about 10,000 sockeye salmon per day for the 25 permit holders with a season harvest of 213,000 sockeye salmon to date. Ocean River, which drains into the Bering Sea this year, now empties into the ocean close to the line between the Three Hills Section and the Ilnik Section (159° 49.45' W. long), as a result the commercial fishing season in the portion of the Ilnik Section west of 159° 46.00' W. long is closed until further notice, and in the Three Hills Section commercial salmon fishing is closed east of 159° 54.00' W. long. Harvest limits have been in place since July 5 on the North Peninsula.

Harvests have been very good for this date. The Outer Port Heiden Section sockeye salmon harvest is 504,000 fish to date, and the total North Peninsula harvest is 2.7 million sockeye salmon.

Harvests limit have been in effect since July 5. The preseason harvest projection of 2.2 million fish has been surpassed. Catches have been better than last year for this date.

South Peninsula

The third and fourth post-June commercial salmon fishing periods in the South Alaska Peninsula opened Thursday, July 14 through Friday, July 15 and Monday, July 10 through Tuesday, July 19. The next scheduled period will open Friday, July 22 and will close Saturday, July 23. The Northwest Stepovak Section opened to commercial salmon fishing Friday, July 15 and was extended 48 hours through Tuesday, July 19. The Northwest Stepovak Section will open to commercial salmon fishing Friday, July 22 and will close Sunday, July 24. The Southeastern District Mainland will open to commercial salmon fishing Friday, July 22 and close Saturday, July 23. Portions of the newly designated Dolgoi Island area closed to commercial salmon fishing on July 21.

The McLees Lake weir was fish tight on June 7th and 39,794 sockeye salmon have passed through the weir as of July 21.  Escapement is well above the historical average for this date. The Orzinski River weir was fish tight on June 20th and 16,448 sockeye salmon have passed the weir as of July 21. Escapement is above average for this date.

Participation in the fishery so far is consistent with participation in previous years. Portions of the newly designated Dolgoi Island area closed to commercial salmon fishing as of July 21 after having reached the harvest quota of 191,000 sockeye salmon as determined by fish tickets on June 21. The percent of harvest for Chignik sockeye salmon has dropped below the Board of Fisheries mandated 7.6% of the Chignik harvest and area staff will continue to monitor fishery performance in the Chignik management area to determine fishing opportunities in the Southeastern District Mainland.

As of July 21, the post-June sockeye salmon harvest in the South Unimak fishery was 42,120 fish, the harvest in the Shumagin Islands fishery was 285,356 fish, and the Dolgoi Island area (6/1-7/25) was 476,777 fish. The SEDM commercial salmon harvest is currently 82,471 sockeye salmon. The total pink salmon harvest of 2,749,112 fish is above average but harvest rates have slowed in the post-June fishery. The total chum salmon harvest of 332,371 fish is average.

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Chignik

Chignik

Chignik Inseason Commercial Harvest Estimates  

A commercial salmon fishing period opened in the Chignik Bay, Central, Western and Perryville districts on 16th of July for a period of 50 hours. The commercial salmon fishing period closed, as schedules, on the 18th of July. Commercial fishing is now closed due to low escapement numbers and in order to assess the transition from early run to late run Chignik River sockeye salmon.

As of 10:00 a.m. on July 21st, approximately 541,976 sockeye salmon have passed through the Chignik weir, slightly below the 10 year average escapement of this time of year. The Department has collected five genetic samples from sockeye salmon at the weir this year and has proportioned the runs into early and late run totals. As of 10:00 a.m. July 21st the early run cumulative total escapement of sockeye is 413,043, and the late run cumulative total escapement of sockeye salmon is 128,933.

Approximately 70 permits have participated in the Chignik Management Area this season. This is slightly below the 3 year average of 73 permits.

From June 1 until July 25 a portion of the sockeye salmon harvested in areas adjacent to the CMA are considered bound for Chignik. The Cape Igvak Section of the Kodiak management area opened on July 12 until July 23. The Southeastern District Mainland Section (SEDM) of Alaska Peninsula area closed on June 26 until the strength of the Chignik River late sockeye salmon run can be assessed. Approximately 186,735 sockeye salmon have been harvested in Igvak and 82,413 sockeye salmon have been harvested in SEDM.

For the week of July 15 through July 21, approximately 1,865 Chinook, 122,678 sockeye, 8,733 coho, 9,906 pink and 8,444 chum salmon have been harvested. The majority of the fishing effort occurred in the Chignik Bay, Central and Western districts.

The 2016 preliminary early-run forecast for harvest is approximately 1.4 million sockeye salmon and for the late-run 783,000 sockeye salmon. These numbers will not be finalized until all of the genetic sampling is done for the season and a post season analysis, however, it appears that the early run harvest will likely be similar to the forecast.

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

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Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim

Yukon River

The Lower Yukon River Districts transitioned to fall season management on July 16. The 2016 fall chum salmon preseason run projection, based on the summer chum to fall chum salmon relationship, is for a run size between 800,000 and 900,000 fish. This level of abundance should be sufficient to provide for escapement, an above average subsistence harvest, and a surplus available for commercial and personal use purposes.

The fall chum salmon commercial fishery started in the Lower Yukon River on July 18. There have been two 9-hour periods in District 1 and one 6-hour period in District 2 with gillnets restricted to 6-inch or smaller mesh size. Preliminary commercial harvest in District 1 and 2 as of July 22 is 22,302 fall chum and 19,800 fall chum salmon, respectively. The combined District 1 and 2 commercial harvest as of July 22 is 42,102 fall chum salmon.

The Lower Yukon summer chum salmon-directed commercial fishery began on June 7 in District 1 and June 14 in District 2. The first 13 periods in District 1 and the first nine periods in District 2 utilized selective gears (beach seines and dip nets) which required the immediate live release of all incidentally caught Chinook salmon.  Beginning June 25 in District 1 and June 27 in District 2, fishermen were able to use set or drift gillnets for commercial salmon fishing and the selective gear fishery was discontinued. As an additional precautionary measure, fishermen in District 1 were restricted to 5.5-inch or smaller mesh gillnets not exceeding 30 meshes in depth to limit the incidental harvest of Chinook salmon for eight commercial periods. Any Chinook salmon caught in gillnet gear can be retained for subsistence use and must be recorded on a fish ticket as caught but not sold. The commercial sale of Chinook salmon is prohibited. 

The summer chum salmon commercial fishery ended July 16 in District 1 and July 17 in District 2. District 1 and District 2 had 29 and 20 summer chum salmon commercial fishing periods, respectively. The preliminary commercial harvest in District 1 is 293,576 summer chum salmon and 107,290 pink salmon with 4,169 Chinook salmon released alive and 2,780 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use. The preliminary commercial harvest in District 2 is 228,239 summer chum salmon and 2,234 pink salmon with 4,085 Chinook salmon caught and released alive and 2,610 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use.

The commercial fishery in District 6 of the Upper Yukon began on July 11. There have been three commercial fishing period to date. A total of 1,367 summer chum salmon were caught with 105 Chinook salmon caught and retained for subsistence use. High water in the Tanana River has reduced fishing efficiency but the summer chum salmon quality is reported to be high. The commercial fishery in District 6 is on a schedule of two 42-hour periods per week until the end of the summer season.

The 2016 summer chum salmon run has exceeded the preseason projection of 1.8 million fish. The 2016 lower river summer chum and pink salmon commercial harvests are the largest on record since 1989. The 2016 Chinook salmon run came in near the upper end of the preseason projection of 130,000-175,000 fish and is still being counted at the sonar project in the lower river.

Kuskokwim River

At this time, the department does not have any processors or catcher-sellers registered in the Kuskokwim Area. Commercial fishing will not occur until a buyer or market is secured. If a buyer or market is found, please have them contact one of the department representatives below to register as a buyer or catcher-seller in the Kuskokwim Area.

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

Norton Sound

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

Kings and chums came in below forecast. King escapement goals were not reached. Chum escapement goals were easily reached only in the Nome area.

Pinks had one of the five greatest runs in Norton Sound history.

Weather the past week resulted in a lot less fishing effort. Pinks are still in greater numbers in the catch as was the case all season even though chum gear has been fished throughout the season.

Now that the commercial crab fishery is over the buyer has more tenders to commit to the salmon fishery and has requested two 48-hour fishing periods a week instead of the daily 16-hour fishing periods.

Silvers are forecast above average, but based on the poor showing of 4-year old chum salmon the silvers may come in much lower than expected.

Kotzebue

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

Effort continues to be well below last year with no improvement seen this week. Compared to last year effort is down 40% this week. Chum catches are down 50% compared to last year even though they were on 3,000 pound limits last year during the second week. Forecast was for an average run. Kobuk River test fish project started operations on July 20. The first day of catches were similar to last year.   46,000 chums have been caught so far compared to 96,000 chums last year for the same amount of fishing time in Kotzebue.

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