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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, June 24, 2016

Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery
The 2016 spring troll season opened April 15, and will continue through June 30. A total of 42 spring troll, terminal harvest area, and directed troll fisheries have opened this spring, with no new openings scheduled for the remainder of the season. Through June 23 (SW 26), approximately 545 permit holders have made 3,583 landings, with a total of 35,642 Chinook salmon harvested. This is an increase in effort from both 2015 and the 5-year average. The 2016 cumulative spring Chinook harvest through June 23 is up from the 5-year average by 3,081, Chinook salmon but down from 2015 by 9,512 Chinook salmon. The current spring seasonal average weight for Chinook of 11.8 pounds is below the 2015 average of 12.8 pounds and below the 5-year average of 13.0 pounds. The seasonal Chinook average price per pound of $8.32 is a $2.81 increase from 2015, an increase of $2.69 from the 5-year average.

Purse Seine Fishery
The first purse seine opening was on Sunday, June 19 for four days in a portion of lower District 2 along the Prince of Wales Island shoreline near Kendrick Bay from McLean Point Light to Polk Island. The first 15-hour openings also occurred on Sunday, June 19, at Hidden Falls Terminal Harvest Area (THA) and Point Augusta. Fifty boats were present at the spring Kendrick Bay fishery harvesting 105,000 chum, 2,500 pink, 2,500 coho, 600 Chinook, and 400 sockeye salmon. Twelve boats were present at the Hidden Falls THA harvesting 2,200 chum and 100 Chinook salmon. There was no reported harvest at the Point Augusta index fishery.

A 15-hour mid-week opening occurred on Thursday, June 23 at Hidden falls. Sixteen boats were present harvesting 4,600 chum salmon.

Initial openings in Districts 1 and 4 can be expected on Sunday, July 3.

The ADF&G pink salmon harvest forecast is 34 million fish, with an 80% confidence interval range of 13–55 million. This is below the recent 10-year average harvest of 37 million fish. Based on combined hatchery chum salmon forecasts, total returns of 9.6 million fish are expected.

During 2014, the pink salmon parent year, the common property purse seine harvest of 33.5 million pink salmon was below the 10-year average (2005–2014) of 37.4 million. Escapements in 2014 were below the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) range in the Northern Southeast Inside Sub-region and above the BEG ranges in the Southern Southeast and Northern Southeast Outside Sub-regions. Management targets were met or exceeded in 8 of 14 districts.

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, June 19, 2016. Harvests for Chinook salmon were average, for chum salmon were above average, and all other salmon species were below the previous 10-year average. The effort level of 45 vessels was below the 10-year average of 49. The estimated weekly harvest was 400 Chinook, 4,000 sockeye, 400 coho, 200 pink, and 20,000 chum salmon. The Nass River has a preseason forecast of 679,000 sockeye salmon. 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 opened for drift gillnet fishing for an initial 72 hour period on Monday, June 20. On the grounds surveys indicated an abundance of sockeye salmon below the level to warrant additional fishing time in District 6. However, catches were well above average for fishermen targeting sockeye in District 8. Sockeye salmon catch rates for fisheries in the Stikine River were also well above average with stock assessments indicating the catch consisting primarily of Tahltan Lake sockeye salmon. The preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon is 223,000 fish, well above the recent ten-year average of 172,000 fish. The early portion of the run will consist primarily of the Tahltan Lake component, which is expected to contribute the bulk of the surplus. With good sockeye catch rates providing confidence in the forecast, a 48-hour mid-week opening occurred in District 8. Both Districts 6 and 8 will open on Sunday, June 26 for 72 hours and then District 8 will open for an additional 48 hours starting Thursday, June 30.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B
The week 26 Taku Inlet / Stephens Passage (Section 11-B) drift gillnet fishery opened for two days starting at noon on Sunday, June 19 with a significant area restriction intended to minimize harvest of Taku River Chinook salmon. In addition to the area closure, a six-inch maximum mesh size restriction was in place. The most recent terminal run estimate of approximately 14,000 large Taku Chinook salmon is expected to result in an escapement of around 13,000 fish, well below both the preseason forecast of 29,000 fish and the minimum of the 19,000–36,000 large Taku River Chinook salmon escapement goal range.

The District 11 fishery got off to a relatively slow start with the time and area restrictions for Taku Chinook salmon conservation keeping the fleet size to a total of 30 boats a little above half the 10-yr average, diminishing throughout the fishing period. Not surprisingly, total harvests were below average for all species as well. Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) was average for Chinook salmon and above average for sockeye salmon, but less than half the average for chum, the latter understandable with the prime chum grounds closed due to Chinook concerns. Regarding Chinook harvests, port sampling revealed a little over half the catch were large fish, and factoring in the identified Douglas Island Pink and Chum (DIPAC) fish, the large Taku Chinook harvest is estimated somewhere in the 20–40 fish range. Regarding sockeye, although catches on the first day of the fishery were quite good, catch rates dropped by two thirds on the second day, mirrored later in the week in the Canyon Island fish wheel catches up the Taku River.

With around 99% of the Taku Chinook run now into the river past the U.S. fishery, the entire 11-B area (except for Port Snettisham) will be open next week, and with the sockeye uncertainty we will open initially for two days.

Lynn Canal/District 15
The 2016 Lynn Canal (District 15) drift gillnet fishery will open again for two days beginning Sunday, June 26 in Sections 15-A and 15-C. The entire district will have a 6" maximum mesh restriction to reduce Chinook salmon harvest. The Chilkat River Chinook salmon return is projected to be just below the lower end of the escapement goal, and the gillnet fishery in Section 15-A will also continue to be limited in time and area to reduce the Chinook salmon harvest. Additionally, the escapement of sockeye salmon into the Chilkoot River is currently below goal, with a total 1,714 fish through the weir as of June 24, 2016, and the catch of sockeye in the Chilkat River fish wheels continues to be low. Section 15-C management will focus on harvesting hatchery chum salmon while providing escapement within goal ranges for wild northbound salmon stocks.

The harvest for the two day opening in statistical week 26 (June 19-21) was estimated to be 24,000 chum salmon, 2,000 sockeye salmon, 60 Chinook salmon, and a small number of pink and coho salmon. The harvest of sockeye salmon was about half of the proceeding 10-year average, while the enhanced chum harvest was about 20% of the proceeding 10-year average. An estimated 103 boats participated in the fishery, just below the average.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery
In the Alsek River, 15 permits harvest approximately 1,000 sockeye and 10 Chinook salmon. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) was below average and the fishing period remained at one day. In Yakutat Bay, 23 permits harvested 4,400 sockeye and 36 Chinook salmon. The Dangerous River was opened to commercial fishing but was not fished. The Situk-Ahrnklin Inelt fishery was opened for 2.5 days and 45 permits harvested 3,300 sockeye salmon. The Manby Shore fishery opened on Sunday, June 19 for 2.5 days but was not fished. The remainder of the Yakutat District will open on June 26. The East River and Italio River systems will open by emergency order when sustainable escapement counts have been observed. An aerial survey conducted on the East and Doame river systems on Tuesday, June 21 indicated an early, yet strong sockeye salmon return.

Sockeye salmon returns to the Yakutat Area in 2016 are expected to be average to above average. The 2016 preseason forecast of a total return of 684 large Chinook salmon to the Situk River is indicative of a below average return, and subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries remain closed for Situk River Chinook salmon. These fisheries will reopen when Situk River weir counts indicate that the biological escapement goal (BEG) 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.

Anita Bay THA
The 2016 Anita Bay Terminal Harvest Area (THA) forecast includes 387,000 summer chum, 16,500 Chinook, 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 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 their website at SSRAA website. The estimated harvest to date is 1,000 Chinook and 300 chum salmon.

Boat Harbor THA
The inside area of the Boat Harbor Terminal Harvest Area (THA) will remain open until further notice 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. This area is defined as the inside waters of the Boat Harbor THA west of the department markers at the entrance of Boat Harbor. The remaining area of the Boat Harbor THA will open for two days beginning June 26.

Deep Inlet THA
ThThe Deep Inlet Terminal Harvest Area (THA) rotational fisheries began on May 28. The current schedule allows for seine openings on Sunday, Thursday and Friday; and gillnet openings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,782,000 chum salmon, 31,200 Chinook 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 June 19, 12 seiners harvested approximately 80 Chinook salmon and 2,100 chum salmon. On June 20-21, 19 gillnetters harvested approximately 230 Chinook salmon and 3,500 chum salmon. To date 1,600 Chinook salmon and 23,400 chum salmon has been harvested in the Deep Inlet THA net fisheries. 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 Terminal Harvest Area (THA) opened on 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 Chinook salmon, and 194,000 coho salmon. The Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) needs 190,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 1,243,000 chum salmon available for common property harvests. On June 19, 12 seiners harvested approximately 50 Chinook salmon and 6,600 chum salmon. 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.

Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 868,000. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. The current cumulative harvest of chum salmon through statistical week 25 is 8,000 fish. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

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 opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. The cumulative harvest of chum salmon through statistical week 26 is 6,000 fish. 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 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 current harvest in the Neets Bay THA through statistical week 25 is 598 Chinook and 2,174 chum salmon by drift gillnet gear and 512 Chinook and 6,811 chum salmon by purse seine gear. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet
The Copper River District opened to commercial fishing for a 36-hour fishing period on June 16 and 20. These were the eleventh and twelfth fishing periods of the 2016 season. A 48-hour fishing period is scheduled for the Copper River District on June 23. The Coghill District was open for a 36-hour fishing period on Thursday, June 16 and a 24-hour fishing period on Monday, June 20. The Eshamy District was open for a 36-hour fishing period on Thursday, June 16 and on Monday, June 20. 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 River started on May 8. To date, about 490,024 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site versus and anticipated range of 403,711–624,845.

Waters inside of the barrier islands from Steamboat Anchorage to the eastern edge of the district were closed during all or part of the last two fishing periods due to indications of smaller than anticipated Chinook salmon run. The Esther and Granite Bay subdistricts within the Coghill District, are now open for 24–36 hours per fishing period to keep up with enhanced chum salmon run entry. Coghill District general waters and waters of Esther Subdistrict within 0.5 miles of Culross Island have remained closed for Coghill Lake sockeye salmon conservation. Fishing period duration in the Eshamy District is tied by regulation, to returns to the district. 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 eleventh Copper River District commercial fishing period was 55,815 sockeye and 227 Chinook salmon. The preliminary harvest from the twelfth Copper River District commercial fishing period was 85,831 sockeye and 172 Chinook salmon. The eleventh period harvest was below the anticipated harvest of 62,515 sockeye and below the anticipated harvest of 566 Chinook salmon. This twelfth period harvest was below the anticipated harvest of 83,289 sockeye and 475 Chinook salmon. Early season common property chum salmon harvest in western PWS gillnet fisheries is ahead of anticipated, while sockeye salmon harvest in these fisheries is below anticipated, but early stages of run entry for these hatchery runs is highly variable.

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.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine
In the Southwestern District, the AFK Hatchery Terminal Harvest Area (THA) and Special Harvest Area (SHA) opened to commercial fishing periods on June 20 and June 23. Commercial fishing periods at the Armin F. Koernig Hatchery (AFK) Hatchery THA and SHA will be open daily to purse seine fishing for 14 hour fishing periods from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm starting on Thursday, June 23. A regular schedule of 14-hour fishing periods per day is anticipated to remain in effect until further notice.

The first aerial surveys of portions of the Eastern District were conducted on Tuesday, June 21. Stream escapement observations were minimal during these surveys, which is to be expected for the date. The next aerial survey for portions of Eastern district is scheduled for early next week.

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.

In the Southwestern District the harvest estimate from the fishing period that ended June 22 was 24,805 chum and 5,805 sockeye with 60 deliveries reported. Cumulative harvest at the AFK Hatchery through June 22 is 126,867 chum and 9,981 sockeye salmon.

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Bristol Bay

The Egegik District
In the Egegik District, through June 22 cumulative escapement is 142,000 fish and cumulative catch is 137,000 fish. Additional commercial fishing time is based on in season indicators and is evaluated on a day-by-day, tide by tide basis.

The Ugashik District
In the Ugashik District, the counting tower is scheduled to be deployed on June 25, the inriver test fishery is scheduled to be deployed around June 23. There are reports of small numbers of fish moving upriver. Walrus are still present near the north line of the district but seem to be avoiding the commercial district because of fishing activity. Cumulative catch is 61,000 fish.

The Nushagak District
In the Nushagak District, set and drift gillnet openings for the whole district. Drift gillnet one tide a day set gillnet a little more than that. Igushik Section set gillnet is fishing 24/7.

Escapement is ahead of schedule on the Wood and Nushagak. Igushik enumeration started on June 23.

There are 447 drift permits registered and most set gillnet permit holders seem to be participating at normal levels. Harvest is increasing daily and ahead of averages.

The Togiak District
In the Togiak District, there is a reduced schedule in Togiak River Section to protect Chinook salmon. There is a regular schedule elsewhere. Escapement enumeration will begin on approximately July 1. Participation increased a little but still very low.

The Naknek-Kvichak District
In the Naknek-Kvichak District, the early season fishing schedule ended at 9:00 a.m. June 23. The District is now on active management. Through June 22: total sockeye salmon catch was 19,000; Naknek River escapement is 19,158 fish; and Kvichak River escapement is 2,292 fish.

For more Bristol Bay Salmon News Releases and Announcements visit the Bristol Bay announcements page.
The Bristol Bay Daily Run Summary

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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 Chinook Salmon fishery: Mondays — 12 hour periods; ends June 24.
  2. Big River Sockeye Salmon Set Gillnet fishery: Mon-Wed-Fri — 12 hour periods; ends June 24.
  3. Western Subdistrict and Kalgin Island Set Gillnet fisheries: Mondays and Thursdays — 12 hour periods.
  4. Central District Drift Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays — 12 hour periods.
  5. Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet fishery (ESSN): Mondays and Thursdays — 12 hour periods.
    1. Only the Kasilof Section is open at this time (Kenai Section will open on or after July 8); 48 hours of additional time are allowed per week in the Kasilof Sectionn.

The Kasilof River sockeye salmon enumeration project began on June 15. Approximately 40,000 sockeye salmon were enumerated through June 22.

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

In the Northern District directed king salmon commercial fishery has concluded for the 2016 season; the estimated king salmon harvest after the four open periods was approximately 2,042 fish. The estimated sockeye salmon harvest from these periods is 2,239 fish.

In the Big River sockeye salmon commercial fishery approximately 246 king salmon and 8,921 sockeye salmon were harvested since June 1. There is one additional open period in this fishery on June 24.

The drift gillnet fishery harvested approximately 1,870 sockeye salmon in the first open period on June 20.

Harvest data from the ESSN fishery period on June 23 was not available at the time of this report.

5 AAC 21.310 (b)(2)(C)(i) Fishing Seasons states that the Kasilof Section set gillnet fishery opens on the first Monday or Thursday on or after June 25 each year, unless 50,000 sockeye salmon are estimated to be in the Kasilof River before that date, at which time the fishery may open by emergency order, but not earlier than June 20. As of 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, approximately 37,000 sockeye salmon are estimated to have passed the Kasilof River sonar site. Passage rates have increased the past two days and the number of sockeye salmon that have entered the Kasilof River downstream of the sonar site is likely to result in more than 50,000 fish in cumulative sonar passage before June 25. Therefore, this Emergency Order 2S-02-16 opened the Kasilof Section set gillnet fishery in compliance with the aforementioned regulation and also with the objective to reduce the sockeye salmon rate of escapement into the Kasilof River

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)
Cost recovery of returning Trail Lakes Hatchery sockeye salmon from the Bear Lake release began on May 23. Commercial set gillnet harvest began in the Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet on June 2 with commercial purse seine opening in the Southern District on Monday, June 20.

The weir at Bear Creek in Resurrection Bay began operation in mid-May. Through June 15, run timing has remained approximately 4-days earlier than last year with a total of 12,775 sockeye salmon counted at the Bear Creek weir at that date. Salmon returning to the weir since that date have been sold for cost recovery. The English Bay River weir is tracking to meet the midpoint of the sustainable escapement goal range of 6,000–13,500 sockeye salmon on July 31 when that weir is removed. As of June 22, a total of 2,384 fish had been passed with 24.7% of the run estimated as having been completed. The video weir at Mikfik Lake counted 4,983 sockeye salmon between June 6 and June 16. This is within the final escapement goal of 3,400–13,000 fish for this early timed system.

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

During the first 6 fishing periods in the 2016 season, commercial set gillnet permit holders in the Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet have harvested 408 Chinook, 3,338 sockeye and 322 chum salmon. This compares to last year's cumulative harvest of 348 Chinook, 5,561 sockeye and 2,078 chum salmon. The previous 5-year average harvest for the first four fishing periods are 164 Chinook, 7,377 sockeye and 689 chum salmon.

Purse seine permit holders have harvested 542 and 495 sockeye salmon during the Monday, June 20 and Wednesday, June 22 fishing periods. This is above the first two harvest periods last year where no fish were sold in the first period, and only 222 in the second.

Through June 22, the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association has reported harvesting 52,455 sockeye salmon for cost recovery in Resurrection Bay. Last year by this date, 73,811 fish had been harvested. The previous 5-year average cumulative harvest for this date is 92,529 fish.

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

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Kodiak

The commercial salmon fishing period in the Outer Karluk Section of the Southwest Kodiak District, the Central, North Cape, and Inner Uganik sections of Northwest Kodiak District and the Southwest Afognak Section of the Afognak District targeting Uganik Lake and Karluk early-run sockeye salmon was extended twice last week. Sockeye salmon catches on the Westside are below average. However, the department flew a survey of Karluk lagoon on June 22, and there is still a large buildup of fish in Karluk Lagoon.

Last week was the second general 33-hour commercial salmon opening in the Northwest Afognak, Pauls and Perenosa Bay sections of the Afognak District, the Eastside Kodiak District, and the Outer Kukak and Big River Sections of the Mainland District. Sockeye salmon catches for this second general opening were below average.

A 48-hour commercial salmon fishing period in the Cape Igvak Section of the Mainland District targeting Chignik-Bound sockeye salmon began at 12:01 a.m. June 18 and has been extended several times. Sockeye salmon catches are below average and the current Cape Igvak percentage is 18.6%.

To date, there has not been enough early-run Ayakulik sockeye salmon to justify opening the Inner and Outer Ayakulik sections to commercial salmon fishing.

Sockeye salmon escapement began to pick up in the Alitak District at both Upper Station and Frazer and the first Alitak District commercial salmon opening was announced to begin at noon Saturday June 25.

The Southeast Afognak Section of the Afognak District remains open until further notice targeting Afognak Lake sockeye salmon.

The Duck Bay and Izhut Bay sections of the Afognak District remain open until further notice to commercial salmon fishing targeting early-run chum salmon returning Kitoi Bay Hatchery. Chum catches near Kitoi Bay Hatchery are average. Both the Inner and Outer Kitoi Bay Sections were closed on Wednesday, June 22 to allow for chum broodstock to build near the hatchery.

Two early-run sockeye salmon special harvest areas, the Foul Bay and the Waterfall Bay Special Harvest Areas also remain open until further notice to commercial salmon fishing.

The cumulative Karluk River early-run sockeye salmon escapement through June 22 is approximately 115,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. However, an aerial survey on June 22 observed a large buildup (greater than 50,000 sockeye) in Karluk Lagoon. Karluk River Chinook salmon escapement is also within the desired range. However, non-retention of Chinook salmon has been imposed on the commercial seine fleet area wide.

In the Southwest Kodiak District, the cumulative Ayakulik River early-run sockeye salmon escapement through June 22 is approximately 84,000 fish, which is below the desired escapement range for this date. Ayakulik River Chinook salmon escapement is however within the desired range. No commercial salmon fisheries are currently scheduled in the Inner and Outer Ayakulik sections until sockeye salmon escapement improves at Ayakulik River weir.

In the Alitak District, the cumulative Upper Station early-run sockeye salmon escapement through June 22 is approximately 33,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. The cumulative Frazer sockeye salmon sockeye salmon escapement through June 22 is approximately 38,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date.

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

There is little or no early information on sockeye runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Saltery, 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 230,725 fish harvested as of June 22. Chum salmon harvests are average to date with a total harvest of 97,576 fish harvested.

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula
The weekly fishing period in Nelson Lagoon closed early at 11:59 PM on June 22. The Bear River, Port Moller Bight, and Three Hills sections remain closed to commercial salmon fishing due to low early run sockeye escapement. The Ilnik and Out Port Heiden sections are scheduled to open at 6 AM on Saturday June 25 until 6 PM Monday June 27. The Black Hills Section was open to commercial salmon fishing from 6 AM Monday June 20 until 6 PM Wednesday June 22.

Weirs at the four main rivers are installed. Ilnik River has 10,400 sockeye salmon, which is better than most recent years. Daily counts have been very variable with no consistency to increasing run strengths. Weirs at the four main rivers are installed. Ilnik River has passed 27,100 sockeye salmon, which is better than most recent years, and exceeds the June 25 escapement goal of 8,000–12,000 fish. Daily counts have been very variable however with no consistency to increasing run strength. The Ocean River, a tributary of the Ilnik River system, is emptying directly into the Bering Sea this year. Bear River weir counts have been slow. The June 20 interim escapement objective of 15,000–30,000 sockeye salmon was met but no surplus was available for the fleet and the fishery has been closed. The June 25 objective is 30,000–55,000 fish and only 25,200 have passed the weir to date, at current escapement rates no surplus will be available for the fleet. The Nelson River weir counts have been slowly increasing, but escapement remains well below recent years and the 10 year average. The first interim escapement objective for Nelson River is June 30. It is likely that the Caribou and David rivers, which are typically early run systems, are making up the bulk of the harvest in Nelson Lagoon at this time since escapement numbers are not increasing even on fishery closures. Aerials surveys are used to assess the Caribou and David rivers later in the summer when the fish make it to the clear water where they are visible. Sandy River weir recently had a high water event, which washed out a portion of the weir. Estimates are not yet available for the time the weir was not operational, but counts yesterday (the first day the weir was fully repaired and operational) were strong, numbering approximately 1,000 fish. Previous to the high water event approximately 3,700 sockeye had passed the weir, putting Sandy River on track to meet the June 25 interim escapement objective of 6,000–11,000 sockeye.

The Nelson Lagoon commercial sockeye salmon harvests were about 3,600 sockeye salmon for the 22 permit holders. In the Black Hills Section four permit holders harvested about 770 sockeye salmon. 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.

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

South Peninsula
The fourth commercial salmon fishing period for set gillnet gear in the South Alaska Peninsula opened at 6:00 AM Wednesday, June 22 and will close at 10:00 PM Saturday, June 25. The set gillnet fishery will reopen for the final period of the June fishery at 6:00 AM Monday, June 27 and will close at 10:00 PM Wednesday, June 29. The third commercial salmon fishing period for seine and drift gillnet gear in the South Alaska Peninsula began at 6:00 AM Monday, June 20 and will close at 10:00 PM Thursday, June 23. The seine and driftnet gear fishery will reopen for the final period of the June fishery at 6:00 AM Saturday, June 27 and will close at 10:00 PM Tuesday, June 28. Portions of the newly designated Dolgoi Island area closed to commercial salmon fishing on June 21. The Southeastern District Mainland will open to commercial salmon fishing on Friday, June 24 at 12:00 PM and will close on Sunday, June 26 at 12:00 PM.

The McLees Lake weir was fish tight on June 7th and 9,268 sockeye salmon have passed through the weir as of June 15. Escapement appears to be well above above average at this date. The Orzinski River weir was fish tight on June 20th and 292 sockeye salmon have passed the weir. It is still too early in the run to determine strength. The percent of harvest for Chignik sockeye salmon has dropped below the Board of Fisheries mandated 7.6% of the Chignik harvest and so the Southeastern District Mainland will reopen to commercial salmon fishing in order to maintain that allocation.

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 on June 21 after having reached the harvest quota of 191,000 sockeye salmon as determined by fish tickets on June 21.

Direct comparisons to past seasons are difficult as the June scheduled fishery was modified at the 2016 Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting, a new Dolgoi Island area was created for allocative purposes. As of June 15, the sockeye salmon harvest in the South Unimak fishery was 445,448 fish, the harvest in the Shumagin Islands fishery was 264,945 fish, and the Dolgoi Island area was 241,812 fish. The Southeastern District Mainland (SEDM) commercial salmon harvest is currently 29,908 fish. The total pink salmon harvest of 1,289,244 fish is well above average. The total chum salmon harvest of 157,539 fish is well below average.

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Chignik

A commercial salmon fishing period opened for 72 hours in the Chignik Bay, Central and Eastern districts as well as the Inner Castle Cape Subsection of the Western District beginning noon Wednesday, June 15. This fishing period was extended through noon Monday, June 20.

The Western District opened to commercial salmon fishing at noon Thursday, June 16 for 48 hours.

As of 8:00 a.m. June 23, approximately 207,000 sockeye salmon have passed the weir similar to the 10 year average escapement for this time of year. Daily escapement has increased significantly with the closure of the commercial fishing period and is within the June 24 interim escapement objective of 209,000–268,000 sockeye salmon.

Approximately 60 permits have participated in the Chignik Management Area this season.

From June 1 until July 25 sockeye salmon harvested in areas adjacent to the CMA are considered bound for Chignik. The Cape Igvak Section of Area K has reopened for a 48-hour commercial salmon fishing period (beginning 12:01 a.m. June 18) and has had several 24-hour extensions. The section is now scheduled to close at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 25. The Southeastern District Mainland Section (SEDM) of Area M has also had one 48-hour commercial salmon fishing period (6:00 a.m. June 7 until 6:00 a.m. June 9). SEDM is scheduled to reopen for a 48-hour commercial salmon fishing period beginning 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 24. Approximately 101,834 sockeye salmon have been harvested in Igvak and 29,908 sockeye salmon in SEDM.

For the week of June 17 through June 23, approximately 476 Chinook, 157,300 sockeye, 24 coho, 10,336 pink and 12,022 chum salmon have been harvested. The majority of the fishing effort occurred in the Chignik Bay and Central districts. There was little effort or harvest in the Western district 48-hour commercial fishing period.

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 summer chum-directed commercial fishery began on June 7 in District 1 and June 14 in District 2. As of June 22, District 1 has had eleven 12-hour commercial fishing periods and District 2 has had six 12-hour commercial fishing periods. Commercial fishermen in both districts were required to use selective gear types (beach seines and dip nets) and release all incidentally caught Chinook salmon back to the water alive. Chinook salmon caught and released must be recorded on a fish ticket. The preliminary beach seine and dip net commercial harvest as of June 22 in District 1 is 77,027 summer chum salmon with 4,371 Chinook salmon caught and released alive. The preliminary beach seine and dip net commercial harvest in District 2 as of June 22 is 57,755 summer chum salmon with 2,114 Chinook salmon caught and released alive. Additional dip net and beach seine commercial openings have been announced for both Districts 1 and 2.

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
Salmon outlooks and harvest projections for the 2016 salmon season are based on qualitative assessments of parent-year escapements, sibling relationships, subjective determinations of freshwater overwintering and ocean survival, and in the case of the commercial fishery, the projections of local market conditions. The Chinook salmon run is expected to be weak and no commercial fishing targeting Chinook salmon is expected in Norton Sound. Additional subsistence restrictions for Chinook salmon are expected in southern Norton Sound. Sales of incidentally harvested of Chinook salmon will not be allowed in Subdistricts 5 and 6 if Chinook salmon subsistence fishing restrictions are imposed. Elsewhere incidentally caught Chinook salmon in commercial fisheries will be allowed to be sold. Chum salmon runs are expected to be above average and the harvest is expected to be 130,000 to 170,000 fish. The department expects the pink salmon run to be above average for an even-numbered year and the harvest could range from 250,000 to 750,000 fish. A harvest of this magnitude would be dependent on pink salmon directed fishing periods and sufficient buyer interest. The department has emergency order authority to increase allowable commercial gillnet gear from 100 fathoms to 200 fathoms in a pink salmon directed fishery. The coho salmon run is expected to be above average based on ocean survival conditions in recent years. The commercial harvest is expected to be 120,000 to 160,000 fish. In the Port Clarence District the department expects the commercial fishery to remain closed and there could be subsistence closures in the Pilgrim River as early as the second week of July to protect the sockeye salmon run.

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

Kotzebue
The outlook for the 2016 season is based on the parent-year escapements and returning age classes observed in the commercial fishery and in the test fish samples from the Kobuk River in 2015. The 4-year-old component of the run is expected to be average based on the 3-year-old return in 2013. The 5-year-old component of the run is expected to be above average based on the 4-year-old return last year. The 3-year-old and 6-year-old age classes are much smaller components of the run and are expected to be average. The commercial harvest is expected to fall within the range of 300,000 to 500,000 chum salmon, if market conditions can accept that level of harvest and at least one major buyer is present in 2016.

No subsistence fishing restrictions are expected in 2016. Primary commercial fishery management objectives are to provide adequate chum salmon passage through the commercial fishery: (1) to ensure sustained runs by allowing adequate escapement, and (2) to meet subsistence harvest uses. Fishery management will be dependent on comparing period and cumulative season catch rates to prior years and test fishing results on the Kobuk River, and the Noatak River if test fishing occurs there.

Age composition of commercial salmon catches will be monitored to determine the strength of age classes in the run. If there is a low abundance of older salmon, which tend to migrate into freshwater first, catch rates will likely be weak early in the season. A strong 4-year-old return may cause midseason catches to rise.

Demand for chum salmon is unknown at this time, but the major buyer and one minor buyer from last year have confirmed that they plan to return for 2016 season.

If the commercial fishery is similar to last year there will be 6 to 12 hour fishing periods on any day of the week, except Saturday in the first two weeks of July and likely shorter fishing periods as the peak of the run comes in. If buyers opt for longer fishing periods similar to the 12 hour periods in the late 1990s and early 2000s then there will likely be a one-day closure midweek unless the run is strong enough to allow fishing periods 6 days per week. However, if the buyers have fishermen on catch limits the department in agreement with the buyers could open commercial fishing continuously and let the buyers decide when their fleet would fish.

The department intends to open the commercial fishery anytime after July 9 when the buyers are ready or permit holders indicate they are ready to fish and a market is available. By regulation the commercial season closes after August 31.

If poor run strength necessitates fishing restrictions, the department will establish periodic closures of the fishery. The department will confer with buyers if concern arises about salmon runs and the need to reduce commercial fishing time.

If commercial catches indicate a weak run, and are in agreement with test fish catches in the Kobuk River, the department will consider reducing fishing time in late July to two short duration periods per week or less. If commercial catches indicate sufficient run strength the department will allow commercial fishing to continue based on market conditions and escapement indicators. Likewise, in August as the Noatak River chum salmon run passes through the district the department will consider restrictions if commercial catches indicate a weak run.

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

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