The second Chinook salmon retention period of the summer was open 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. Final harvest and effort statistics will be available within the next few weeks. Preliminary estimates indicate a treaty harvest of approximately 52,000 fish by 646 permits, with an average weight of 11.6 lbs and average price of $3.52. Regional power troll coho catch rates for the current week (stat week 35) are 114/day, with the highest catch rates in the Southern Outside and Central Inside areas. Coho are now averaging 6.9 lbs, with a seasonal average of 6.0 lbs. The average price is currently $1.49/lb with an average summer price of $1.40/lb. The cumulative coho harvest since July 1 is just over 1.4 million, with a peak weekly harvest of 272,000 during the week of July 20-26. Regional catch rates and harvest are both above average. In a news release issued August 14, it was announced that retention of troll caught chum salmon in a portion of Sitka Sound and Eastern Channel will close effective 12:01 a.m., August 17. It was also announced on August 14 that the Deep Inlet Terminal Harvest Area will close to all common property commercial fisheries effective 8:00 p.m., Saturday, August 16. Both of these closures will remain in effect until further notice.
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.
Purse Seine Fishery
The SE Alaska purse seine fishery began the 2014 season in traditional areas on Sunday, June 15. August 28-29 was the final period of seine fisheries targeting pink salmon and additional fishing opportunities will be directed at fall chum salmon. During the August 28-29 period 34 seine vessels harvested around 20,000 pink salmon. The next seine fishery will be on August 31 and will include small areas in and near Excursion Inlet in District 14 and Security Bay in District 9. If fish abundance is sufficient, openings in District 2 targeting Cholmondeley Sound fall chum salmon are expected to begin on or around September 9.
The department has forecast a pink salmon harvest of 22 million fish for the season, below the recent 10-year average harvest of 34.5 million fish. The current estimate is a purse seine harvest of approximately 31 million pink salmon and 2.0 million chum salmon. Of the pink salmon harvest, 27.8 million were harvested in Southern Southeast and 3.2 million were harvested in Northern Southeast primarily in the outer-coastal areas.
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 five days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, August 24, 2014. The effort level was above average with 35 vessels participating. The harvest was above average for sockeye, coho, and pink salmon, and below average for chum salmon. Total harvest estimate for the week is 5 Chinook, 1,250 sockeye, 8,500 coho, 76,000 pink, and 8,000 chum salmon. This week marked the last week the District One Pink Salmon management plan will be in effect, the Tree Point drift gillnet fishery will now being managed based on the strength of returning wild stock coho salmon and fall chum salmon. The coho catch rates for this week were more than double the ten year average. The Hugh Smith weir which is located in Boca De Quadra has passed 302 adult coho at this time. Historic run-timing shows only 10-30% of the total escapement is passed by this time. The escapement goal is 500-1600. With strong coho catches, Tree Point will be open for four days beginning 12:01 p.m., Sunday, August 31, 2014.
The following information about the Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, and Kendrick Bay terminal harvest areas (THA) is estimated through Statistical Week 34. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.
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 August 24 was based on wild coho salmon abundance. Both districts opened for 72 hours. The coho salmon catch rate in District 6 continued to be above average with an above average effort this week. The coho salmon catch rate in District 8 was above average as well, but with a below average number of participants. The proportion of the hatchery component of the harvest is expected to be low this week, but will increase steadily during the next few weeks. Both districts will open for 96 hours beginning Sunday, August 31.
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.
Anita Bay THA: In 2014, approximately 15,400 king, 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 600 coho salmon.
With the minimum escapement achieved in Speel Lake, the Speel Arm SHA opened to target enhanced sockeye salmon returning to the Snettisham hatchery. An above average fleet of 60 boats started in the Arm, but with less than hoped for results, less than half fleet was still fishing inside Port Snettisham after the first day. Effort diminished daily over the opening, but catches were ok for the boats that stuck it out, and those that didn't go home moved into Stephens Passage and Taku Inlet to target coho. Directed coho effort in the traditional area of D11 was below average but with above average coho catch rates. Pink and chum catches were well below average. The above average coho catches in the Canyon Island fish wheels on the Taku River improved over the course of the week and strong catches in the Canadian inriver fishery led to this week's estimate of Taku coho abundance indicating 56,000 coho have been passed above border, approximately 75% of the 75,000 fish management target with 36% of the run in according to historical run timing.
With anticipated below average effort and strong inriver indicators, D11 will be open for 4 days in SW36, with Port Snettisham and Speel Arm open to provide additional opportunity on enhanced Snettisham sockeye.
Lynn Canal/District 15
The District 15 fishery was open for three days with the upper Chilkoot and Lutak inlets open for an additional two days. The fishing effort was above average, with an estimated 70 boats participating. The sockeye salmon harvest decreased from the previous week, and was above average. Pink and chum salmon harvests were below average, while the coho salmon harvest came in almost 3.5 times the average. The harvest estimate for this week is three Chinook, 9,200 sockeye, 10,000 coho, 2,700 pink, and 3,800 chum salmon. With just over 33,000 sockeye salmon counted through the Chilkat Lake weir, escapement is under average for this time and projecting a final escapement total at the lower end of the goal range. The fish wheel catch of sockeye and coho salmon is above average, but the chum catch is below average. The Chilkoot Lake weir sockeye salmon count is currently over 102,000 fish and well above the upper end of the escapement goal range. Fall season management is in effect, with a focus on chum and coho salmon, but much of the fishing effort this week was focused on sockeye salmon. Both Section 15-A and 15-C will open for two days this week, with an additional 3 days of fishing time in Lutak Inlet. Section 15-A will be open south of Seduction Point for two days. Section 15-A will also open north of the Tanini Point line to the terminus of the Chilkoot River for five days. All of section 15-C will be open for two days. The waters of the Boat Harbor Terminal Harvest Area west of a department marker at the entrance to Boat Harbor will close with the rest of section 15-C this week.
Yakutat Area Setnet Fishery
Early indications are of a strong return of coho salmon to the Yakutat Area this season. A total of 43 permits harvested 14,000 coho salmon in the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet. During the same week in 2013, a very good coho salmon year, 12,000 coho salmon were harvested in the Inlet. The Tsiu River opened for the first time this season. A total of 11 permits harvested 5,200 coho salmon during the first 24-hour opening, and another 4,000 during the second period. Very small numbers of fish were also harvested in Yakutat Bay and the East River.
Tsiu River coho salmon harvest may be affected this year by physical changes in the area. The runway for landing DC-3 and larger aircraft for hauling fish to market is now under water most of the time, and buyers are now limited to small aircraft. This limits how much poundage can be taken off the grounds, and buyers may have to resort to "trip limits" to ensure that product can be moved in a timely manner.
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 182,000 chum salmon, or 65% of the forecast. Harvest includes 75,000 gillnet-harvested chum salmon inside the Nakat Inlet THA, plus approximately 93,000 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, for fall chum salmon is 140,000, for Chinook salmon is 18,100, and for coho salmon is 296,000. 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 180,000 seine-harvested chums, 55,000 gillnet-harvested chum salmon and 127,000 harvested by the troll fleet. Cost recovery to date has harvested approximately 546,000 chum salmon with another 160,000 for broodstock needs.
Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 700,000. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Sunday, June 15, 2014. The total harvest is estimated at 449,000 chum salmon, or 64% of the forecast. Of this harvest, approximately 103,000 have been harvested inside the Kendrick Bay THA and 330,000 have been harvested by seine and 16,000 by gillnet outside the THA in common property fisheries.
Anita Bay THA
In 2014, approximately 15,400 king, 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 and will remain closed until further notice. This closure is to ensure NSRAA achieves their broodstock goals this season. To date seiners have harvested 355,000 chum salmon and gillnetters have harvested 197,000 chum salmon.
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.