2018 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.


 
Southeast Alaska

Southeast Chinook Salmon Symposium

The Southeast Chinook Salmon Symposium hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was held on Monday, May 21, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Sitka's Harrigan Centennial Hall. All event materials, presentations, and recorded audio are on the department's website at 2018 Sitka Chinook Symposium.

Presentation topics included:

  • Chinook salmon research: What we know about performance of local stocks, as well as Pacific Northwest Chinook salmon stocks coast-wide.
  • A look at the last 10 years of Chinook salmon management for commercial and sport fisheries, including annual allocations, actual harvest, and performance relative to the Pacific Salmon Treaty.
  • Conservative actions: Management measures in response to poor Chinook salmon production.
  • Treaty transparency: A summary of the treaty past, present, and future.
  • Public process and participation: An overview of the public regulatory process and how to get involved.
  • Public question and answer session.

Troll Fishery

The first Chinook salmon opening of the general summer troll season opened at 12:01 a.m. July 1 and closed by emergency order at 11:59 p.m. July 14. The estimated number of treaty Chinook salmon remaining for the summer fishery was approximately 73,400 fish. The initial summer troll opening was managed to harvest 70% of that remainder, plus an estimated 2% Alaska hatchery contribution, for a total harvest target of 52,400 fish. Any remaining treaty Chinook salmon will be harvested in a second opening following any closure of the coho salmon troll fishery, or no later than August 20 if a coho closure is not necessary.

Though still preliminary, approximately 610 permits made 1,400 landings for a harvest of 50,800 Chinook, 75,900 coho and 7,300 chum salmon since July 1, excluding harvest from the directed chum fishery in Neets Bay/West Behm Canal. This represents the lowest number of permits fishing the first Chinook salmon opening on record, as the 20-year average number of permits fishing is approximately 750 permits. Average price for Chinook is $8.48/lb, which is an increase of $1.15/lb from the 2017 average price and $3.85/lb from the 5-year average. Average price for coho is $1.64/lb, which is $0.16/lb above the 2017 average price and $0.40/lb above the 5-year average. Average price for chum salmon is $0.91/lb, which is an increase of $0.13/lb from the 2017 average price and $0.27/lb from the 5-year average. Current average weights are 11.6 lb for Chinook, 6.2 lb for coho, and 8.3 lb for chum salmon. Chinook salmon average weight is up from 2017 by 0.5 lb and from the 5-year average by 0.1 lb, while coho salmon average weight is up from 2017 by 1.6 lb and from the 5-year average by 0.8 lb. Chum salmon average weight is up from both 2017 by 0.8 lb and the 5-year average weight by 1.3 lb.

Troll effort in West Behm Canal targeting chum salmon returning to the Neets Bay hatchery increased over the past few weeks and has included an estimated 99 boats. The average catch/landing for the current week is 90 chum salmon. Based on fish tickets received through July 19, trollers caught approximately 52,000 chum salmon since July 1, at an average weight of 12.7 lb and an average price of $1.01/lb. The Neets Bay THA area closed to trolling on July 8, and the area open to trolling in West Behm canal expanded by regulation on July 13.

The 2018 Summer Troll Fishery Management Plan and a news release concerning plans for the first summer Chinook salmon retention period are available online and in area offices.

For more information please see the 2018 Spring Troll Fishery Management Plan (PDF 5,470 kB)

Purse Seine Fishery

The 2018 Southeast Alaska common property purse seine fishery is now in its fifth week. Regional cumulative harvest estimates for purse seine gear as of July 20 are 1.0 million chum and 156,000 pink salmon. During statistical week 29, fishing occurred on July 15 and a mid-week seine opening occurred on July 19.

Seine effort during the July 15 fishing period included 68 boats in District 2, 32 in District 4, 23 in District 1, and 20 boats at Point Augusta. Total estimated harvest for the fishing period was 239,000 salmon. The largest harvests occurred in District 2 with 105,000 salmon harvested, followed by District 1 with 61,000, District 4 with 39,000, and Point Augusta with 35,000 salmon harvested. Pink salmon harvest per boat was highest at District 1 with 2,100 fish per boat followed by Point Augusta with 1,300 fish per boat. Chum salmon harvest per boat was highest in District 2 with 800 fish per boat followed by District 1 with 500 fish per boat.

The mid-week seine opening on July 19 included portions of Districts 2, 4, 7, 11, 12, and 13. Harvest information for this opening is not available at the time of this update.

The pink salmon harvest forecast for 2018 is 23 million fish with a range of 3–44 million. By statistical week 29, on average, pink salmon harvest in Southeast Alaska districts is 5% complete. It is too early in the pink salmon run to assess run strength or escapement.

For more information please see the 2018 Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Fishery Management Plan (PDF 299 kB)

Drift Gillnet Fishery

Traditional Southeast area drift gillnet fisheries occur in Districts 1, 6, 8, 11, and 15. For more specific information please see the 2018 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 526 kB)

Tree Point/Section 1-B

The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery was open two days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, July 15, 2018. Harvests of all salmon species of salmon were below the previous 10-year average. The effort level of 25 vessels was below the 10-year average of 48 vessels. The estimate of harvest this week was 40 Chinook salmon, 400 sockeye salmon, 60 coho salmon, 7,500 pink salmon, and 11,000 chum salmon. The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery is currently being managed according to the District One Pink Salmon Management Plan. The District 1 purse seine fishery will start with one day in statistical week 30 therefore, Tree Point will open for two days, beginning at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, July 22.

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For further details concerning this fishery, the 2018 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan is available at area offices or online (PDF 526 kB).

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

During statistical week 29, both districts opened for drift gillnet fishing for an initial 48-hour period on Sunday, July 15. District 8 opened for an additional 48-hour mid-week opening on Wednesday, July 18. Mesh size and area restrictions were in place in District 8 for Chinook salmon conservation. The numbers of participants and harvest rates for sockeye salmon remained below average again this week. Chum salmon harvest rates were above average in both districts. Pink salmon harvest rates in District 6 were the only other species above average this week.

The Districts 6 and 8 gillnet fishery will be managed for sockeye salmon abundance through early August. In 2018, the Board of Fisheries adopted the McDonald Lake Sockeye Salmon Action Plan. This plan limits gillnet fishing time to two days in District 6 for weeks 29 through 31. The preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon was above average; however, inseason estimates indicate the run will be approximately 125,000 fish, which is below the recent 10-year average of 159,000 fish. The allowable catch produced by the week 29 estimate provided the additional opportunity in District 8.

For week 30, both districts will open on July 22 for 48 hours. ADF&G personnel will be on the grounds assessing sockeye salmon run strength for possible adjustments to fishing periods. If additional time is warranted during the remainder of the sockeye salmon management period, it will be in the form of midweek openings in District 8.

An inseason estimate of Stikine River king salmon abundance has not been produced to date; however, all indications point towards a run size well below the lower end of the escapement goal range.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

Total sockeye salmon harvest for the week in District 11 jumped up to recent 10-year average level with an estimated 16,000 fish harvested in the first three days of the fishery. There was a 24-hour extension south of Circle Point with six-inch minimum mesh size nets that will intentionally not add many more sockeye salmon to this total. Approximately 125 boats participated in the fishery throughout the opening which is just slightly above average.

Chum salmon harvest was significant, but below average and catch rates dropped dramatically after the first day of the opening. It appears the District 11 weekly chum salmon harvests have now started down the other side of the bell curve with harvest peaking last week (SW 28) at around 150,000 fish. Approximately 450,000 chum salmon have been harvested by drift gillnetters in District 11 this season.

The current Taku River sockeye salmon run size estimate projects the inriver run to slightly over 100,000 fish which is about 25,000 fish over the escapement objective, allowing continued harvest for both the U.S. and Canada under terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. A run of this size is below average but still has room for directed harvest. Snettisham Hatchery sockeye salmon made up more than half of this week's sockeye salmon harvest according to otolith analysis. These fish are much smaller-sized and combined with the various returns heading up the Taku River resulted in a large variety of sockeye salmon sizes being harvested in the district this week. The weir below Speel Lake is in place and escapement will be acutely monitored throughout the next several weeks. No fish have been counted to date which is normal for this time of year. Since the Speel Lake sockeye salmon escapement goal was not achieved last year, opportunity to target Snettisham Hatchery sockeye salmon below Circle Point will not occur until weir counts are substantial.

Section 11-B will open for three days next week with the northern line in Taku Inlet relaxed back to the normal markers just off the river flats. The six-inch minimum mesh size restriction will remain in place south of Circle Point and Limestone Inlet will again be open to the inner markers. Department staff will be surveying the fishery as usual and an extension could be announced via VHF radio no later than 10am on the day of the posted closure.

Lynn Canal/District 15

The Chilkat River Chinook salmon stock was designated as a stock of concern at the 2018 Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting after multiple years of failing to achieve escapement goals. The 2018 preseason total forecast of Chilkat River Chinook salmon is 1,033 large fish, below the escapement goal range of 1,750-3,500 large fish. Conservation measures implemented by ADF&G to minimize Chinook salmon retention include a 6-inch maximum mesh size restriction in Section 15-A, Section 15-C and in the outside area of the Boat Harbor Terminal Harvest Area (THA). Additional conservation measures to protect inside rearing Chinook salmon will take place by imposing night closures between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. in Sections 15-A and 15-C.

District 15 opened in Lynn Canal on July 15 for two days in Section 15A south of the latitude of Eldred Rock Light and east of line from Eldred Rock Light to point 2 nautical miles from the eastern shoreline with night closures and a 6-inch maximum mesh size restriction. Section 15C was open three days south 58 37.05 N. latitude with night closures and a 6-inch minimum mesh size restriction. The Postage Stamp area was open for four days with night closures and a 6-inch minimum mesh size restriction. The outside area of the Boat Harbor THA is open continuously from the latitude of Lance point south to the latitude of a point approximately 2.4 miles north of Point Whidbey and 1 mile offshore. The inside area of Boat Harbor THA, west of the regulatory marker, remains open continuously.

Escapement projects began on the Chilkoot and Chilkat weirs in June to enumerate the sockeye salmon spawning stocks. Sockeye salmon returning to the Chilkoot and Chilkat Lakes are well below the 10-year average for the season. At this time the Chilkat River Chinook salmon escapement appears to be running on-time but is still predicted to be below the lower escapement goal range.

Drift gillnet gear is the only allowable commercial salmon fish gear in District 15. The number of tenders representing multiple seafood processers was adequate for the estimated 200 fishing vessels participating.

Enhanced chum salmon returning to the Boat Harbor THA and the Amalga Harbor THA were the main target for the District 15 gillnet fleet. An estimated 145,000 chum salmon were harvested which is just below the 10-year average for this stat week. An estimated 3,200 sockeye salmon were harvested which is below the 10-year average for this stat week.

Next week (SW 30) District 15 management will continue to focus on sockeye escapement and the minimum 6-inch mesh restriction will be remain. The area open in 15-A and 15-C will remain the same. The inside and outside area of Boat Harbor THA will be open continuously without mesh restrictions.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

All Yakutat District sockeye salmon fisheries remained closed this week. As of July 18, 2018, approximately 15,000 sockeye salmon and 296 large Chinook salmon have been counted through the Situk River weir. The sockeye salmon count is still well below the long-term average of 55,000 fish for the date and continues to be the lowest count on record. Historical run timing data indicates 71% of the escapement past the weir by this time, and the current projection suggests Situk River sockeye salmon escapement will fall well short of the BEG range of 30,000-70,000 fish if low abundance trends continue. Pink salmon are starting to show up in the Situk River in small numbers.

An aerial survey of the East Alsek and Doame rivers was conducted on July 17, 2018 and sockeye salmon escapements into those systems have improved. Approximately 6,000 sockeye salmon were counted in the East Alsek River and approximately 3,200 sockeye salmon were seen in the Doame River. The East Alsek River has a sustainable escapement goal (SEG) range of 9,000-24,000 sockeye salmon. The East Alsek River commercial set gillnet fishery will open if the SEG is achieved.

An aerial survey was attempted on the Akwe and Italio River systems, but the survey was aborted due to high water and bad visibility. Another attempt at these systems will occur on Friday, July 20.

The waters of the Yakutat District will remain closed to commercial set gillnetting as a conservation measure. Fisheries may reopen on short notice if escapement levels improve.

Terminal Harvest Area (THA) Fisheries

Terminal Harvest Area (THA) gillnet fisheries occur in Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, and Boat Harbor. THA seine fisheries occur in Neets Bay, Kendrick Bay, Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, and Hidden Falls.

Nakat Inlet THA

The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 260,300 and for fall chum salmon is 56,890. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Friday, June 1, 2018. The Nakat Inlet harvest through statistical week 29 is 86,000 chum salmon, or 33% of the summer forecast. This total includes 35,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear and 3,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear in the traditional fishery and 48,000 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 external site link.

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon is 1,347,900, for fall chum salmon is 59,400, for Chinook salmon is 18,100, and for coho salmon is 82,716. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and purse seine gear on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. The Neets Bay chum salmon harvest through statistical week 29 is approximately 84,000 salmon. This total includes 36,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 23,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery and 20,500 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 4,500 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the THA. The harvest of Chinook salmon in the Neets Bay THA is 4,300 salmon by purse seine gear and 2,500 salmon by drift gillnet gear. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon is 632,500. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Friday, June 15, 2018. The Kendrick Bay harvest through statistical week 29 is 245,000 chum salmon, or 39% of the summer forecast. This total includes 125,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 15,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery and 105,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Anita Bay THA

At the time of publication, approximately 10,000 Chinook and 9,500 chum salmon have been harvested in Anita Bay. The 2018 Anita Bay THA forecast includes: 459,000 chum, 15,400 Chinook, and 9,900 coho salmon. Anita Bay opened May 15 to troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear concurrently. Troll fishing will remain open for the season. A rotational fishery began on June 13 for the drift gillnet and purse seine gear groups with a time ratio of one to one. This rotational fishing period will conclude on August 31 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 external site link.

Deep Inlet THA

The Deep Inlet THA opened on May 1; rotational fisheries began on June 17, with seine openings on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and gillnet openings on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,250,000 chum salmon, 12,700 Chinook salmon, and 66,000 coho salmon. This season, 90,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock. Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) does not anticipate cost recovery operations this season in the Deep Inlet THA. Seine harvest to date is 3,600 Chinook salmon and 81,100 chum salmon; gillnet harvest to date is 3,000 Chinook salmon and 31,000 chum salmon.

Hidden Falls THA

To date there have been six common property openings in the Hidden Falls THA. The Hidden Falls THA is currently closed to allow hatchery operators opportunity to collect chum salmon for brood stock. Subsequent openings will be dependent on brood stock collection and inseason run strength. Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 593,000 chum salmon and 191,000 coho salmon, and 2,000 Chinook salmon are expected to return in 2018.  Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) needs 190,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 403,000 chum salmon available for common property harvests. NSRAA does not intend 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. Seine harvest through July 12 in the Hidden Falls THA is approximately 1,000 Chinook salmon and 248,400 chum salmon.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet

The Copper River opened to commercial fishing on Thursday, July 19.

The Coghill and Eshamy districts opened to commercial fishing for 60 and 36-hour periods, respectively, beginning Monday, July 16. Additionally, portions of the Coghill and Eshamy districts opened to commercial fishing for 36 and 24-hour periods, respectively, beginning Thursday, July 19.

The Unakwik District opened to commercial drift gillnet and purse seine fishing for two 36-hour periods beginning Monday, July 16 and Thursday, July 19.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 10. To date, 653,749 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site versus an anticipated range of 550,401–883,719 salmon.

The Coghill River weir washed out for the second time this season on Monday, July 9. Passage to-date is a partial count of 30,954 sockeye salmon versus an anticipated range of 13,430–40,289 fish.

With the Copper River District closed to commercial fishing for most of the season, more drift gillnet fishing effort than normal for this time of year is occurring in the Eshamy and Coghill Districts. More boats than the previous opener returned to the Copper River District to fish on July 19.

Copper River District commercial sockeye salmon harvest to date is 37,416 fish, which is the second lowest harvest to date in the past 50 years.

Coghill District chum salmon and Eshamy District sockeye salmon harvest are tracking ahead of anticipated at 1.79 million chum and 928,000 sockeye salmon, respectively.

Commercial fishery management decisions for the remainder of the Copper River sockeye salmon run will be dependent on sockeye salmon escapement into Copper River Delta index systems. Aerial surveys for Delta index systems occur weekly.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine

In the Southwestern District, the Armin F. Koernig (AFK) Hatchery Terminal Harvest Area (THA), and Special Harvest Area (SHA) opened to purse seine fishing for 36 hours at 8:00 am on Monday, July 16 and Thursday, July 19. A regular schedule of two fishing periods per week is anticipated to remain in effect until further notice. A total of 450,000 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 Montague District, an area in the Port Chalmers Subdistrict opened to purse seine fishing for 36 hours beginning at 8:00 am on Monday, July 16 and for 12 hours beginning at 8:00 am Thursday, July 19. A regular schedule of two fishing periods per week is anticipated to remain in effect until further notice. A total of 150,000 chum salmon are forecast to return to Port Chalmers. The historical run timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 – July 27.

In the Eastern District, an area within Port Valdez and the Valdez Arm opened to purse seine fishing for 14-hour periods beginning at 6:00 am on Monday, July 16, Wednesday, July 18, Thursday, July 19, and Friday, July 20.

Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) completed its cost recovery sales program on July 14. As of Thursday, July 19, VFDA estimated there are approximately 300,000 pink salmon holding within the SHA. VFDA needs approximately 410,000 pink salmon for brood stock.

Aerial surveys of all districts are currently ongoing to further assess the strength of wild stock returns throughout Prince William Sound (PWS). Based on current aerial survey observations, it is unlikely that these stocks will sustain a consistent schedule of openings at this time.

An estimated 590,000 pink salmon were harvested in eastern PWS on Wednesday, July 18. The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest in the Eastern District through July 18 is estimated at 4.3 million Commercial Common Property Fishery (CCPF) and 1.1 million VFDA cost recovery fish, for a total of 5.4 million fish. The 5-year even-year average (2008–2016) cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest (cost recovery and CCPF fish) through July 18 is 11.9 million fish.

Preliminary harvest estimates from the 36-hour period that started on Monday, July 16 at AFK are confidential. To date, 334,500 chum and 31,500 sockeye salmon have been harvested in the Southwestern District.

Preliminary harvest estimates from the 12-hour period that started on Thursday, July 19 in Port Chalmers are 24,700 pink and 3,600 chum salmon with 7 deliveries reported. To date, 437,500 chum and 228,800 pink salmon have been harvested in the Montague District.

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Bristol Bay

Inseason Harvest Information

Naknek-Kvichak District

Through July 19, Naknek River cumulative escapement is 2,174,550 sockeye salmon, which is above the escapement goal range; the Kvichak River escapement is 4,043,574 sockeye salmon, which is within the escapement goal range; and the Alagnak River escapement is 1,380,432 sockeye salmon, which is above the lower bound escapement goal. The cumulative harvest is 6.35 million fish. The harvest allocation through the allocation period was 66% drift, 21% Naknek set, and 15% Kvichak set compared to the regulatory allocation of 84% drift, 8% Naknek set, and 8% Kvichak set. The total run timing to the Naknek-Kvichak District currently sits at nine days late, which makes it the latest run in the dataset going back to 1956. The district will be open to continuous fishing until July 30, which is when the fall schedule will take effect.

Egegik District

Through July 18 Cumulative harvest is 4.3 million fish. Cumulative escapement is 1.5 million sockeye salmon and is within the escapement goal range. Commercial fishing is currently open on a continuous basis until August 3. Fishing was discontinued in the Egegik River special Harvest Area on July 12 and resumed in the full Egegik Distrcit on July 13. The run is coming in below pre-season expectations primarily because poor performance of the 2.2 age class which was expected to comprise 40% of the run in 2018. Reasons for the lack of the 2.2 age class are unclear at this time.The run is declining, but fishing is expected to continue until processors begin to shut down for the season. The fall fishing schedule of 9:00 a.m. Mondays to 9:00 a.m. Fridays will begin at 9:00 a.m. Monday July 30.

Ugashik District

Through July 18 cumulative harvest is 1.5 million fish. Cumulative escapement is 1.0 million sockeye salmon and is within the escapement goal range. The commercial fishery is open on a continuous basis until the end of July and will continue until processors discontinue operations for the season. The fall fishing schedule of 9:00 a.m. Thursdays to 9:00 a.m. Mondays will begin at 9:00 a.m. Thursday August 2. The run is currently tracking to end near or above pre-season expectations.

Nushagak District

The sockeye salmon season is winding down. Boats are pulling out or leaving for other districts. Fishing is still wide open and strong. All rivers have exceeded the upper ends of their sockeye salmon escapement goals. Everything is strong and well above average.

Harvest percentages are 82% drift.  The allocation goal is 74% drift. Harvest is 22.7 million, well above forecast, and a new record every day.

Total run has exceeded 30 million sockeye salmon.

Togiak District

Harvest is looking good.  Currently, the season is about halfway through and tracking to be better than average. The fishing schedule has been extended for 48 hours this week in the Togiak River Section.

Counts are above expectations and within the escapement goal range. Effort is close to average at this point. 278,000 sockeye salmon have been harvested so far and there has been strong daily harvest the last several days this week.

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)

Currently in Upper Cook Inlet there are several commercial fisheries underway

  • Northern District Set Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays – 12-hour periods
  • Western, Kustatan, and Kalgin Island Subdistrict Set Gillnet fisheries: Mondays and Thursdays – 12-hour periods
    • Western Subdistrict south of Redoubt Point is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
  • Central District Drift Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays– 12-hour periods
  • Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet fishery (ESSN): up to 24 hours per week

The total sockeye salmon passage estimate in the Kasilof River through Friday July 20th was 188,345 fish. Total escapement thus far in the Kasilof River falls below the previous 10-year average passage of 229,181 fish but is within the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) of 160,000-340,000 fish. The Kenai River sockeye salmon passage estimate through July 20th is approximately 173,534 fish. The previous 10-year average is approximately 493,294 fish. The offshore test fish boat (OTF) cumulative sockeye index through July 19th is approximately 769. In 2017, the OTF index through July 20th was 1,259.

Harvest levels of sockeye salmon remain below average around Upper Cook Inlet. The Kasilof section of the Upper Subdistrict opened on Monday June 25th and has harvested 138,882 sockeye and 1,123 Chinook salmon for the season. Harvest from July 19th was unavailable at the time of this report.

The Kenai section of the Upper Subdistrict opened on Monday, July 9th. Total harvest from the Kenai section of the East Side Set Net fishery is 36,736 sockeye and 401 kings. Harvest from July 19th was unavailable at the time of this report.

The drift gillnet fishery opened June 21st. Total harvest from the drift fleet is approximately 362,001 sockeye and 483 Chinook salmon.

Total harvest in the Western Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery through July 19th is 59 king salmon and 19,250 sockeye salmon.

The Northern Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 14,075 sockeye salmon and 119 king salmon since June 28.

The Kalgin Island Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 14,812 sockeye salmon while the Kustatan Subdistrict has harvested 1,295 sockeye salmon since June 25.

King salmon runs in numerous Kenai Peninsula drainages in 2018 are below average. This has resulted in closures in sport, personal use and subsistence fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet. The king salmon restrictions in the Kenai River sport fishery will result in paired restrictions to the Upper Subdistrict Set gillnet late-run sockeye fishery. Beginning July 8, commercial fishing periods in the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery, excluding the East Foreland Section, are open for no more than 24 hours per week, with a 36-hour continuous closure per week beginning between 7:00 p.m. Thursday and 7:00 a.m. Friday.

Upper Cook Inlet Sockeye Salmon Escapements

General Information

The UCI commercial fisheries information line will again be available by calling (907) 262-9611. The most recent EO announcement is always available on the recorded message line and catch, escapement and test fishing information are included whenever possible. The same recording may be accessed at Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Webpage and clicking on the UCI Commercial Fisheries Information Recording player.

All EO announcements are also faxed or emailed to processors as quickly as possible and posted at Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Webpage. For very general information, we invite you to visit the Commercial Fisheries Webpage.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)

Cost recovery of returning Trail Lakes Hatchery sockeye salmon from the Bear Lake release began on May 27 and concluded at 6:00 PM on Sunday, June 17. Commercial common property opened on Monday, June 18. Commercial set gillnet harvest began in the Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet on June 1 with commercial purse seine opening for commercial common property harvest in Kamishak Bay on that day as well. Cost recovery harvest of returning sockeye and pink salmon is ongoing in the Tutka, China Poot, Hazel Lake, and Kirschner Lake SHAs. The East Nuka Subdistrict is open on a schedule of daily 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM fishing periods targeting sockeye salmon returns to Delight and Desire lakes. In addition, Dogfish Lagoon opened on Friday, June 20 targeting a large return of chum salmon.

Sockeye returns to Lower Cook Inlet systems appear generally above average. Escapement to Chenik and Mikfik, where the department maintains video monitoring of returning salmon, are both anticipated to achieve escapement within respective Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) ranges. In addition, there are two weirs in Lower Cook Inlet at Delight Lake and in the English Bay River, both of these currently have sockeye salmon counts that are within assigned SEG ranges.

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

Through Wednesday, July 18 a total of 40,600 sockeye salmon had been harvested in the purse seine fishery in the Southern District. This is below 2016 and 2017 where 43,600 and 49,100 fish had been harvested by this date. The previous 5-year average cumulative harvest through July 18 is 32,800 sockeye salmon. Set gillnet permit holders had harvested 11,609 sockeye salmon through fishing period #14. This is below last year's harvest for this gear of 28,100 sockeye salmon through period #14, and also below the previous 5-year average of 26,500 fish harvested through fishing period #14.

Sockeye returns to LCI appear generally normal in terms of return numbers with some streams coming in slightly later than normal, (Mikfik) and others with a more normal timing, (English Bay Lakes, Delight Lake, Desire Lake). With the exception of Resurrection Bay which had a strong run made up almost entirely of 4-year old fish weighing 3.7 pounds each, other runs have been fairly normal in terms of size.

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Kodiak

Kodiak

The Izhut Bay Section of the Afognak District opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 17 and will remain open until further notice.

The Outer Kitoi Bay Section of the Afognak District opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 18 and will remain open until further notice.

The Inner Kitoi Bay Section of the Afognak District opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 19 and will remain open until further notice.

The Alitak District opened to commercial salmon fishing on July 19 for 2.5 days targeting late-run Upper Station and Frazer sockeye salmon.

Due to low abundance of pink salmon in the Kodiak Management Area the next scheduled commercial pink salmon opening, previously scheduled for Friday, July 20 is now scheduled for Monday, July 23 in the following areas:

  • The Humpy-Deadman Section of the Alitak District;
  • The Outer Karluk Section of the Southwest Kodiak District;
  • The Northwest Kodiak District;
  • The Afognak District; (except Izhut Bay, Inner Kitoi and Outer Kitoi Bay sections will remain managed based on hatchery chum salmon);
  • The Mainland District;
  • The Eastside Kodiak District; and
  • The Northeast Kodiak District.

The cost recovery fishery continued in the Spiridon Bay Special Harvest Area (SHA) and the Spiridon Bay SHA currently remains closed to common property fishing.

In the Southwest Kodiak District, the cumulative Karluk River late-run sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 was 1,463 fish, which is below the 5-year and 10-year averages. Karluk River Chinook salmon escapement is within the desired range for this date, but non-retention of Chinook salmon has continued for the commercial seine fleet.

In the Southwest Kodiak District, the cumulative Ayakulik River early-run sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 was 11,404 which is average for this date and within the desired escapement range. Ayakulik River Chinook salmon escapement is below the desired range for this date and non-retention of Chinook salmon was imposed on the commercial seine fleet.

In the Alitak District, the cumulative Upper Station early-run sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 was 383 fish, which is below both the 5-year and 10-year average, and below the desired escapement range for this date.  The cumulative Frazer sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 is 161,312 fish, which is above both the 5-year and 10-year average and within the desired escapement range for this date.  

In the Afognak District, the cumulative Afognak Lake (Litnik) sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 is only 16,251 fish, which is below the 5-year and 10-year average and below the desired escapement range for this date. No commercial salmon fisheries are scheduled in the Southeast Afognak Section of the Afognak District and both the sport and subsistence salmon fisheries closed at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 16.

In the Northeast Kodiak District, the cumulative Buskin Lake sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 is only 1,864 fish, which is below the 5-year and 10-year average and below the desired escapement range for this date. No commercial salmon fisheries are scheduled in this district and both the sport and subsistence salmon fisheries closed at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 16.

In the Eastside Kodiak District, the cumulative Pasagshak Lake sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 is 828 fish, which is below average for this date. The cumulative Saltery Lake sockeye salmon escapement through July 19 is 8,816 fish, which is below average for this date.

There is currently little or no early information on sockeye runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Miam, Uganik, Little River, Malina, Long Lagoon, Thorsheim, Perenosa Bay, Pauls Bay, Akalura, Horse Marine, and other minor sockeye salmon systems.

It is anticipated that approximately 170 seiners and 150 set gillnetters will participate.  

As of July19, approximately 427,000 sockeye salmon have been harvested in the Kodiak Area. Typically, by July 19 the Kodiak Area has harvested between approximately 1,200,000 sockeye salmon. The current Kodiak Area sockeye salmon harvest is the weakest in 38 years.  Approximately 302,000 chum salmon have been harvested through July 19 which is slightly below average for this date. Approximately 140,000 pink salmon have been harvested in the KMA, which is the lowest harvest to date since 1970.

Due to very weak sockeye salmon escapement at the Afognak Lake (Litnik), Buskin River, Saltery, and Pasagshak, both the sport and subsistence salmon fisheries have been either closed or severely curtailed.

Due to low abundance of pink salmon in the Kodiak Management Area the next scheduled commercial pink salmon opening previously scheduled for Friday, July 20 will be delayed until Monday, July 23.

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Kodiak Management Area webpage.

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula

Fishing occurred in the Nelson Lagoon, Port Moller Bight, Bear River, Three Hills, Ilnik, and Outer Port Heiden sections this week. Catches have improved dramatically in Nelson Lagoon over the past 7 days but appear to be declining toward the end of the week.  A portion of the Bear River Section has been closed around the Sandy River to protect ensure the escapement goal is met at Sandy River. Weir counts at Bear River have been extremely strong over the past week, and the stream terminus to the ocean shoreline has been open to commercial salmon fishing since July 12.  A portion of the Bear River Section, and Three Hills and Ilnik sections have been open to commercial salmon fishing. The Outer Port Heiden Section opened to commercial salmon fishing on Monday, July 16 for 2.5 days. The Port Moller Bight, Bear River, Three Hills and Ilnik sections are open to commercial salmon fishing and extensions are expected.

Weir counts at Bear River have been steady over the past week and have exceeded the July 31 early run escapement objective of 176,000-293,000 sockeye salmon with 300,000 fish as of July 20. Ilnik River weir has exceeded the upper season ending escapement objective of 60,000 with over 79,000 sockeye salmon passed the weir as of July 19 and the weir was removed for the season on July 19 as scheduled. Daily counts have dropped to less than 1,000 fish per day at the Ilnik River weir. The Nelson River weir peaked for the season to date on July 14 with over 25,000 sockeye salmon through the weir for the day. Weir counts have been between 5,000-25,000 fish per day over the past week. About 172,000 sockeye salmon have passed through the Nelson River weir as of July 19, meeting the July 25 escapement objective of 97,000-219,000 fish. Sandy River weir counts have been decreasing as expected for this date with the July 20 objective of 32,000-71,000 fish met as of July 19 with 32,500 fish through the weir. About 377,000 sockeye salmon have been harvested to date in the Outer Port Heiden Section. The total harvest in the Bear River, Three Hills, and Ilnik sections is about 864,000 sockeye salmon, and in Nelson Lagoon about 107,000 sockeye salmon have been caught to date. All numbers are well below recent harvest levels.

There are about 20 permit holders fishing in Nelson Lagoon. There are about 115 drift gillnet permit holders fishing in the Bear River, Three Hills, Ilnik, and about 40-50 in the Outer Port Heiden sections combined.

Sockeye salmon runs were late in run timing and not as strong as in recent years. Aerial surveys are occurring on the Meshik River as well as other North Peninsula systems. Five aerials surveys to date have occurred on the Meshik River and the latest documented 97,000 sockeye salmon with the season ending (July 31) goal of 48,000-86,000 fish. Final spawning ground surveys will occur in the coming weeks.  Surveys have also occurred on the Nelson, Bear, and Ilnik rivers to date.

The Chinook salmon escapement goal at Nelson River of 2,400-4,400 fish has been exceeded with over 4,900 fish already passed.

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

South Peninsula

The South Alaska Peninsula opened to commercial salmon fishing for seine, set gillnet and drift gillnet gear at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, July 14 until 6:00 p.m. Sunday, July 15. This scheduled fishing period was 36-hours in length, followed by a closure of 60-hours.

The South Alaska Peninsula reopened to commercial salmon fishing for seine, set gillnet and drift gillnet gear at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 18 until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, July 19. This scheduled fishing period was 36-hours in length followed by a closure of 60-hours.

Department staff have been conducting aerial surveys of the South Alaska Peninsula when time and weather allows since June 29th. It is still too early in the season to tell how escapement is developing for the local pink, sockeye and chum salmon escapement, most of the streams have no salmon escapement. A survey flown on July 11 indicated that chum salmon escapement in several streams in the South-Central District is starting to develop.

The Orzinski weir was completed on Sunday, June 10. The first sockeye salmon escapement at the weir was recorded on Thursday, June 21. On July 19 the Orzinski weir had a daily escapement of 168 for a season total of 1,676 sockeye salmon. The 10-year average daily escapement for this date is 252 sockeye salmon and an average cumulative total of 12,406 sockeye. The 5-year average daily escapement for this date is 293 sockeye salmon and an average cumulative total of 11,368 fish. At this point in the run, the Orzinski sockeye run is late and weak. No Commercial salmon fishing in the immediate vicinity of the Orzinski River has taken place this season.

The overall participation in the commercial salmon fishery in the South Alaska Peninsula is slightly below average, based on the number of landings recorded so far this season.

The only allocative ties to another area in the South Alaska Peninsula is The Southeastern District Mainland Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 09.360).

The Southeastern District Mainland Salmon Management Plan is based off the Chignik Management Area (Area L) harvest of sockeye salmon. A total of 128 sockeye have been harvested in the Area L this season. This harvest level is not enough to justify an opener, so no fishing has occurred in the Southeastern District Mainland this season.

No harvest limits have been placed on the fishermen by the processors this season. The processing capacity of the processors has not become an issue this season.

As of July 19, a total of 13,128 Chinook, 1,121,788 sockeye, 142,964 coho, 489,513 pink, and 845,273 chum salmon have been harvested in the South Alaska Peninsula.

The Chinook harvest is above the 10-year average of 10,577 but below the 5-year average of 16,238. The sockeye harvest is well below both the 10-year and the 5-year average of 1,773,923 and 1,947,003 respectively. The coho salmon harvest this season is above both the 10-year average and the 5-year average of 87,490 and 122,626 respectively. The pink salmon harvest is well below both the 10-year and 5-year averages of 1,564,685 and 1,697,788 fish respectively. The chum salmon harvest this season is well above both of the 10-year and 5-year averages of 551,679 and 546,513 fish respectively.

A news release was issued at 11:15 a.m. on July 16, announcing a scheduled commercial salmon fishery period for 36-hours from 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 18 until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, July 19. This news release limited commercial salmon fishing for seine and set gillnet gear in certain statistical areas in the Southwestern and South-Central districts. The area that was closed to commercial salmon fishing is commonly referred to as the Dolgoi area, statistical areas 284-37 through 284-39 and statistical area 283-26. This was executed in response to the recent low escapement numbers for Chignik sockeye, because the Dolgoi area is known to intercept Chignik bound sockeye salmon.

For more information please see South Alaska Peninsula Salmon Management Strategy, 2018 (PDF 3,457 kB).

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Alaska Peninsula Management Area webpage. For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

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Chignik

No commercial sockeye fisheries have occurred or are scheduled to occur in Area L as of July 20th. The Chignik Management Area (CMA) has no scheduled commercial fisheries this week, as escapement numbers for sockeye remain low this season.

As of 1:00 p.m. July 20th, approximately 254,638 sockeye salmon have passed through the Chignik weir. The Chignik River early sockeye salmon run is estimated to be at approximately 183,319 which is well below the minimum escapement objective of 348,000 fish. At this time the run is projecting as weak run, well below the 5, 10 and 20-year averages. Aerial surveys of the lagoon have shown there is little to no buildup of sockeye salmon in the Chignik Lagoon. The Chignik River late run sockeye salmon run is estimated at 71,319, this meets the minimum escapement goal of 68,000 as of July 20th, however is trending towards the bottom of our escapement range of 68,000 to 136,000 as of July 20th.

Chinook salmon returns are also well below average. To date 611 Chinook salmon have passed through the Chignik Weir. The escapement goal range for July 20th is 1,087 to 2,039 Chinook salmon. Sport fishing, subsistence fishing and federal subsistence fishing for Chinook salmon remain closed in the Chignik watershed.

From June 1 until July 25th sockeye salmon harvested in the areas adjacent to the CMA are considered bound for Chignik. There have been no fishing periods scheduled yet in the Cape Igvak Section of area K, or in the Southeastern District Mainland (SEDM) of Area M.

No harvest has occurred yet in the Chignik Management Area.

Federal subsistence fishing remains closed to the waters upstream of Mensis Point.

For more information, please visit the Chignik Management Area webpage.

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 2018 fall chum salmon preseason run projection is for a run size of 700,000 to 900,000 fish. This level of abundance is anticipated to provide for escapement, subsistence and personal use harvest, and a surplus available for commercial. In the Lower Yukon, commercial fishermen may use six inch or smaller mesh size gillnets during the fall chum salmon directed commercial fishery.

The fall chum salmon directed commercial fishery began on July 16 in District 1 and July 18 in District 2. From July 16 to July 19, two periods (up to 9 hours) occurred in District 1 with a preliminary harvest of 31,664 fall chum salmon. District 2 had one 6-hour period with a preliminary harvest of 4,445 fall chum salmon.

The summer chum salmon fishery occurred in the Lower Yukon from June 9 to July 17. In District 1, from July 11 to July 15, four 9-hour periods with 6-inch or smaller mesh gillnets occurred with a preliminary harvest of 28,721 summer chum salmon and 7,997 pink salmon. During these openings, commercial fishermen retained 212 Chinook salmon for personal use. The total preliminary 2018 District 1 summer season harvest is 246,722 summer chum and 34,768 pink salmon. Commercial periods were limited to dip nets and beach seines for 21 openings in the early part of the season from June 9 to July 2. Ten openings with gillnets occurred starting on July 4. A total of 5,803 Chinook salmon were reported released alive, and 1,491 Chinook salmon were retained for personal use.

In District 2, from July 10 to July 17, six 12-hour periods with 6-inch or smaller mesh gillnets occurred with a preliminary harvest of 60,230 summer chum salmon. During these openings 958 Chinook salmon were retained for personal use. The total preliminary 2018 District 2 summer season harvest is 174,242 summer chum salmon. No pink salmon were sold in District 2. Commercial periods were limited to dip nets and beach seines for 18 openings in the early part of the season from June 12 to July 6. Eight openings with gillnets occurred starting on July 7. A total of 5,523 Chinook salmon were reported released alive, and 1,270 Chinook salmon were retained for personal use.

In the Upper Yukon River, the summer chum commercial fishery is occurring in Subdistrict 4A and District 6. In Subdistrict 4-A, commercial fishing has been open with live-release wheels 24 hours a day, seven days a week since June 26. Fish wheels must be manned at all times and all Chinook salmon released to the water alive immediately. From July 11 to July 19 the preliminary harvest is 46,238 summer chum. Fishermen reported releasing 159 Chinook salmon alive. The commercial fishery in District 6 began on July 13 and is ongoing. There have been two 42-hour commercial fishing periods to date. Fishermen may use fish wheels or set gillnets. The sale of Chinook salmon is prohibited. From these periods, 323 summer chum were harvested, 45 Chinook salmon were released, and 99 Chinook salmon were retained for personal use.

As of July 18, the estimated passage of summer chum salmon is over 1.6 million at the sonar project near Pilot Station in the lower Yukon River, which is below the median of 1.9 million. Beginning July 19, the sonar project began counting all chum salmon as fall chum. As of July 19, the estimated passage at this sonar project is 158,800 Chinook and 25,200 fall chum salmon.

Kuskokwim River

The 2018 Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon forecast is for a range of 116,000-150,000 fish. The drainage-wide Chinook salmon escapement goal is 65,000-120,000. If the run comes back as projected, the drainage-wide escapement goal is expected to be achieved and may be able to support a limited subsistence harvest. The 2018 season will be managed in accordance with the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 07.365). It is the department's intent to take a cautionary approach during the early part of the season, with fishing opportunities being based on inseason run assessment and input from the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group.

For more information please see: Kuskokwim River Subsistence Fishery Outlook and Fishing Restrictions (PDF 123 kB)

Norton Sound

The commercial chum salmon harvest is nearing the midpoint of the department harvest forecast of 150,000 to 200,000 chum salmon and catch projections show the harvest may exceed 200,000 chum salmon. This year's chum salmon commercial harvest is the highest in 35 years and is on track for a Top 5 finish. The one buyer in Norton Sound is paying $0.80/lb. for chums again this year. The pink run is one of the greatest, but thankfully even-year pinks are smaller than the odd-year pinks and most are able to pass through the chum gear making the buyer happy. The buyer is paying $0.25/lb. for pinks compared to $0.03/lb. last year as pinks plugged chum gear last year. The department forecast was for a 25,000 to 75,000 pink salmon harvest and we will probably finish in the high 20s. The buyer has no interest in pink salmon directed fishing periods. Escapements throughout Norton Sound have been exceeded or projected to be exceeded for chum and pink salmon. Subsistence restrictions on king salmon have been removed and for the first time in 3 years escapement was reached in southern Norton Sound. Silvers are starting to show in commercial catches and at the southern Norton Sound escapement project counts. The department has forecast a well above average silver run. The buyer is paying the same as last year, $1.40/lb.

For more information please see the 2018 Norton Sound Management Plan (PDF 393 kB)

Kotzebue

Catches have picked up the second week of fishing and the commercial catch is slightly ahead of last year during the same time period. Two of three buyers registered are operating. They are paying $0.40/lb., a little less than last year's $0.48/lb. The price will likely come up when the third buyer opens. Last year's chum harvest was the only the seventh time the harvest exceeded 400,000 fish and the department forecast was for a Top 10 chum harvest again this year of 400,000 to 600,000 chum salmon with the possibility of exceeding the upper end. The test fish crew at Kiana was able to get in the water and began drifts one day ahead of schedule.

For more information please see the 2018 Kotzebue Salmon Management Plan (PDF 161 kB)

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