2019 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

Troll Fishery

During the 2018 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka, action plans to conserve wild Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon were adopted. These measures and further supplementary emergency order actions restrict spring troll fisheries for conservation of Southeast Alaska and transboundary river Chinook salmon stocks. Spring troll fisheries target Alaska hatchery Chinook salmon and, for 2019, are limited spring troll areas located on the outer coast and/or near hatchery release sites and terminal harvest areas. A total of six spring troll areas have been opened to date, with four additional spring troll areas and eight terminal harvest area openings initially in June. Opportunities to harvest Alaska hatchery chum salmon will be provided in six spring troll and two terminal/special harvest areas, which will open in mid-June.

Through May 24 (Stat Week 21), approximately 93 permits holders have made 295 landings, with a total of 1,533 Chinook salmon harvested. This is a decrease in effort of 32 permits from 2018 and of 150 permits from the 5-year average, primarily due to the reduced number of areas opened. The 2019 cumulative spring Chinook salmon harvest through May 24 is up from 2018 by 229 fish and down from the 5-year average by 4,733 fish. The current spring troll seasonal average weight for Chinook salmon of 11.9 lbs. is below the 2018 average of 12.3 lbs. and the 5-year average of 12.2 lbs. during the same weeks. The seasonal Chinook salmon average price per pound of $9.86 is a $2.56 decrease from 2018, and a $1.01 increase from the 5-year average.

Purse Seine Fishery

Common property purse seine openings will begin in June and will be primarily directed at harvesting returns of enhanced chum salmon in Terminal Harvested Areas (THAs). The Anita Bay THA will be the first to open on June 1 followed by the Deep Inlet THA on June 2 and Neets Bay and Kendrick Bay THAs on June 15. The Southeast Cove and Thomas Bay THAs are newly opened to common property purse seine in 2019. The Southeast Cove THA, Thomas Bay THA, Hidden Falls THA, Pt. Augusta Index fishery, and Tenakee Inlet will open June 16. The 2019 total enhanced summer chum salmon run is expected to eclipse 17 million fish.

The 2019 Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest forecast is predicted to be weak with a point estimate of 18 million fish. In southern Southeast, common property purse seine openings directed at harvesting pink salmon will begin June 30 in District 7 and July 7 in District 1. In northern Southeast, directed pink salmon openings are not expected to occur until July and will be contingent on results from the Pt. Augusta Index fishery, the Hawk Inlet, Pt. Gardner, and Kingsmill test fisheries, and observations of pink salmon abundance. The Pt. Gardner and Hawk Inlet test fisheries will begin in late June.

Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon stocks are currently experiencing a cycle of very low abundance. In 2019, four of the five systems for which forecasts are developed are projecting runs below their escapement goal ranges. To meet escapement goals in Southeast Alaska systems, restrictions will be implemented in gillnet, seine, troll, sport, personal use, and subsistence fisheries.

Chinook salmon 28 inches or greater in length may NOT be retained, and Chinook salmon less than 28 inches may be retained but not sold for all purse seine fishing areas except the Hidden Falls, Anita Bay, Neets Bay, and Deep Inlet THAs. All Chinook salmon harvested in the Hidden Falls, Anita Bay, and Neets Bay THAs may be retained and sold. All Chinook salmon harvested in the Deep Inlet THA must be retained and may be sold. These restrictions will be in place at least through July 13.

Drift Gillnet Fishery

For more information please see the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan

Tree Point/Section 1-B

The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery opens on Sunday, June 16, 2019. For further details concerning this fishery, the 2019 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan is available at area offices.

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

The 2019 preseason terminal run forecast for Stikine River large Chinook salmon is 8,250 fish. This forecast is well below the average of 20,000 fish and well below the escapement goal range of 14,000–28,000 fish. This forecast does not allow for directed Chinook salmon fisheries in District 8. Recent trends of Stikine River Chinook salmon abundance and trends in Chinook salmon abundance throughout Southeast Alaska indicate very poor survival of Chinook salmon. As such, conservation measures will be in place for the start of the sockeye salmon fishery.

The 2019 preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon is 90,000 fish, which is well below the average of 153,000 fish. This forecast includes: 66,000 Tahltan Lake and 24,000 mainstem sockeye salmon. Fishing periods in District 8, and to a lesser extent in District 6, will be determined by inseason abundance estimates of Stikine River sockeye salmon. Both districts may open by regulation as early as the second Sunday in June (June 9). However, with an expected poor run of Stikine River Chinook salmon, conservation measures will be in place in both districts. Conservation measures will include; delaying the initial sockeye salmon opening by at least two weeks in District 8 and by one week in District 6, implementing a six-inch maximum mesh size, limiting fishing time, and reducing fishing area in District 8. The initial District 6 opening on June 16 will be limited to 48 hours. The following week, District 6 and possibly District 8 will be open for an initial 48 hours on June 23 and may be extended based on observed effort and harvest levels. During the first few weeks of the sockeye salmon fishery, any extended fishing time or midweek openings will be based on the preseason forecasts, expected harvest levels, and stock proportion data. 

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

The terminal run forecast of 9,100 Taku River large Chinook salmon is the second smallest ever produced, after last year’s forecast of 4,700 fish, and nearly 10,000 fish below the bottom end of the escapement goal range (19,000 to 36,000 large fish). With other regional Chinook salmon forecasts at all-time lows, management actions will be taken throughout all fisheries in Southeast Alaska to reduce harvest of wild Chinook salmon. An ongoing stock assessment project on the Taku River, with limited data after only one week of fishing, has increased catch rates on large fish compared to the last three seasons.

The 2019 Taku Inlet / Stephens Passage (Section 11-B) drift gillnet fishery will open to target sockeye salmon for two days beginning Sunday, June 16 with the same initial restrictions in place as last season including a significant area closure of Taku Inlet and waters east of a line of longitude running mid-inlet from the latitude of Point Greely south to a point on the Admiralty Island shoreline north of Station Point, a six-inch maximum mesh size restriction, and night closures from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. Starting in week 27 (June 30), openings will likely have a lesser degree of Chinook salmon conservation restrictions. Management will be based on wild sockeye salmon abundance through mid-August, after which focus will shift to Taku River coho salmon abundance. Weekly opening times will be determined in-season based on data from Taku River stock assessment projects, fishery catch per unit effort (CPUE), and effort levels. 

The terminal runs of Taku River wild sockeye and coho salmon are expected to be below their recent ten-year averages in 2019. Although below average, the sockeye salmon terminal run size should result in some U.S. allowable catch under terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) and openings of near-average time and area could occur after the first few weeks. The Taku River coho salmon forecast is at a level where directed openings could be substantially restricted. The current PST Annex IV, which runs from 2019 through 2028, includes harvest sharing objectives for Taku River coho salmon and the current terminal run forecast of 73,000 fish is below the level at which the U.S. has any allowable catch (AC).

Douglas Island Pink and Chum, Inc. (DIPAC) is forecasting returns of 1.4 million enhanced summer chum salmon from hatchery releases in Gastineau Channel and Limestone Inlet. The forecasted return of enhanced sockeye salmon to Port Snettisham is 230,000 fish, and 62,000 enhanced coho salmon are forecasted to return to Gastineau Channel.

2019 SEAK Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan

Lynn Canal/District 15

The salmon gillnet season in Lynn Canal will open for two days on Sunday, June 16. Both Section 15-A and Section 15-C will open at this time. The pre-season forecast for large Chilkat River Chinook salmon is 1,000 large fish, below the inriver abundance goal range of 1,850 – 3,600 fish. This will result in conservative management during the first several weeks of the gillnet season, with the openings designed to minimize Chinook salmon harvest while allowing for the harvest wild sockeye salmon and enhanced chum salmon. 

In Section 15-A, the fishing area opened during the first week will be limited to south of Eldred Rock Lighthouse and east of a line from Eldred Rock Lighthouse to a point 2.0 nmi from the eastern shoreline through July 20. 

Section 15-C open area will be limited to the Postage Stamp (waters of Section 15-C south of the latitude of Vanderbilt Reef Light and east of a line from Vanderbilt Reef Light to Little Island Light) through July 6. Night closures from 10:00 p.m. through 4:00 a.m. and a maximum mesh size restriction of six inches will be in effect districtwide through July 13.

Fishing time and area in the Boat Harbor Terminal Harvest Area (THA) will also reflect Chinook salmon conservation concerns. The outer waters will open by regulation, June 16 within 1.0 nmi of the shoreline for two days per week with a maximum mesh size restriction of six inches through July 6. Beginning June 16, inside Boat Harbor will remain open seven days a week without gear or time restrictions.

The sockeye salmon return to Chilkoot Lake is expected to be average to above average. The return of Chilkat River mainstem sockeye salmon is expected to be above average in 2019. Berners River and Lynn Canal coho salmon returns are expected to be below average this year.

The Douglas Island Pink and Chum, Inc. (DIPAC) is forecasting a total return of 2.8 million enhanced chum salmon from the hatchery releases at Amalga Harbor and Boat Harbor. The common property share of this return is estimated to be 1.8 million fish.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

The Yakutat set gillnet fisheries do not open until June, and openings for various systems are staggered according to run timing. The Southeast Alaska (SEAK) Transboundary Rivers Chinook salmon stocks are experiencing unprecedented levels of poor production; record low runs were observed for many of these stocks in 2018 and 2019. Forecasts indicate continued poor levels of production in 2019. To bolster spawning escapements, Alaska and Canada are coordinating fisheries management per treaty obligations to minimize harvest of depressed Chinook salmon and sockeye salmon stocks. Management actions to conserve Alsek River Chinook salmon stocks will result in a two-week delay of the fishery. The Alsek River will not open until June 16. Yakutat Bay and the Dangerous River will open on the second Sunday in June (June 9). The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and the Manby Shore fisheries will open on the third Sunday in June (June 16). The remainder of the Yakutat District will open on the fourth Sunday in June (June 23). The East River, Akwe River and the Italio River systems will open by emergency order when adequate levels of escapement have been observed.

Sockeye salmon returns to the Yakutat Area in 2019 are expected to be average to above average. The 2019 preseason projection of a total return of 300 large Chinook salmon to the Situk River is indicative of a below average return, any harvests of these stocks will result in the escapement goal not being achieved. The subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries will be closed for Situk River Chinook salmon. These fisheries will reopen when Situk River weir counts indicate 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.

Nakat Inlet THA

The forecasted return for Nakat Inlet is 254,500 summer chum salmon and 197,100 fall chum salmon. Nakat Inlet opens to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Saturday, June 1, 2019. For further information please refer to the 2019 Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery management plan and for updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link .

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay forecasted return is 1,911,400 summer chum, 345,100 fall chum, 16,200 Chinook, and 126,900 coho salmon. Neets Bay opens to the harvest of salmon by troll gear on Saturday June 15, 2019, and by rotational fishery between drift gillnet and purse seine begins on Monday, June 17, 2019. For further information please refer to the ADF&G news release for Neets Bay and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link .

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay is 1,031,700 summer chum salmon. Kendrick Bay opens to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Saturday, June 15, 2019. For further information please refer to the 2019 Southeast Alaska purse seine fishery management plan and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link .

Caroll Inlet THA

The forecasted return for Carroll Inlet is 8,000 Chinook salmon. The Carroll Inlet THA opens to the harvest of salmon by all gear groups on Saturday, June 1, 2019, and the rotational fishery between purse seine and drift gillnet begins on Thursday, June 13, 2019. For further information please refer to the ADF&G news release for Carroll Inlet and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link .

Anita Bay THA

The 2019 Anita Bay THA forecast includes: 535,800 summer chum, 15,700 Chinook, and 9,200 coho salmon. Anita Bay will open on June 1 to troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear concurrently. Troll fishing will remain open for the season. A rotational fishery will begin 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.

Deep Inlet THA

The Deep Inlet THA opens on June 2 for rotational fisheries. Seine openings will occur on Sunday, Thursday, and Friday, and gillnet openings will occur on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week. Forecasted runs for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 2,144,000 chum, 35,300 king, and 78,000 coho salmon. This season, 100,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock. The Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) does not anticipate cost recovery operations this season in the Deep Inlet THA.

Hidden Falls THA

The first common property purse seine openings in the Hidden Falls THA are scheduled for June 16 and June 20. Subsequent openings will be dependent on inseason run strength. Forecasted runs for Hidden Falls THA includes 1,603,000 chum, 167,000 coho, and 1,900 king salmon. NSRAA needs 200,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 1,403,000 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.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet

The Copper River District was open to commercial fishing for a 12-hour fishing period on Monday, May 20 and a 24-hour fishing period starting Thursday, May 23. These were the second and third fishing periods of the 2019 season. The Coghill, Eshamy, and Montague district gillnet fisheries will open for the season on Monday, June 3.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper River started on Wednesday, May 8. To date, 72,348 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site versus a minimum anticipated cumulative target of 33,209 salmon. The Coghill River weir is expected to start operations during the second week of June.

Waters inside of the Barrier Islands from Steamboat through the west side of Softuk Channel were closed during the fishing period on Monday, May 20. These inside waters were open during the first 12 hours of the period that started on Thursday, May 23.

The preliminary harvest estimate from the 12-hour Copper River District period that occurred on Monday, May 20 was 1,750 Chinook and 53,400 sockeye salmon with 480 deliveries reported. This compares to a projected harvest of 58,600 sockeye salmon for this period. Harvest data from the 24-hour Copper River District period that began on Thursday, May 23 are not yet available.

In the Coghill District, a total run of 1.99 million Walley Noerenberg Hatchery (WNH) chum salmon are projected to return this year. Historical harvest timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 – July 27. A total of 443,000 Coghill Lake sockeye salmon are projected to be available for common property harvest. The harvest timing for these fish is from June 1 – August 1.

For the Eshamy District, a total of 1.37 million Main Bay Hatchery (MBH) sockeye salmon are anticipated to be available for common property harvest. The historical harvest timing for these fish is from June 1 – August 1.

A total of 250,000 chum salmon are anticipated to return to the Port Chalmers Subdistrict in the Montague District. The historical harvest timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 – July 27.

Break-up of the Copper River is early and river water levels are approaching average for this date.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine

In the Southwestern District, the Armin F. Koernig (AFK) Hatchery Terminal Harvest Area (THA) and Special Harvest Area (SHA) will open for the 2019 season to purse seine fishing for 48 hours at 8:00 am on Monday, June 3 with an additional 48-hour period at 8:00 am on Thursday, June 6. A regular schedule of two extended fishing periods per week is anticipated at the start of the season. A reduced schedule will be implemented when necessary to limit the harvest of salmon bound for other areas of Prince William Sound (PWS). A total of 330,000 chum salmon are forecast to return to AFK Hatchery. The historical run timing for these chum salmon is from June 1 – July 27.

The 2019 pink salmon total run forecast for PWS is 66.02 million fish, of which 57.88 million will be available for Commercial Common Property Fishery (CCPF) harvest. The pink salmon total run forecast includes 23.56 million natural stock fish, 22.30 million Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) hatchery fish, and 20.16 million Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) fish. Approximately 3.43 million (17%) of the projected 20.16 million VFDA pink salmon return will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock, leaving 16.72 million for CCPF. Approximately 2.87 million (13%) of the projected 22.30 million pink salmon run to the PWSAC hatcheries will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock. The remaining 19.43 million PWSAC pink salmon will be available for common property harvest. Based on the department’s natural stock pink salmon forecast of 23.56 million fish, there is a potential CCPF of 21.73 million natural pink salmon. The department will manage for each district’s aerial index escapement goal for a cumulative Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) of 1,121,000–2,555,000 pink salmon.

The 2019 chum salmon forecast is 3.10 million fish. The majority, 2.57 million (83%), are from PWSAC hatchery production, with 330,000 fish returning to the AFK hatchery. Based on the department’s natural chum salmon forecast of 527,000 fish, there is a potential common property harvest of 327,000 natural chum salmon. The department will manage for each district’s escapement goal for a combined total of 200,000 fish.

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Bristol Bay

Inseason Harvest Information

The 2019 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run is forecasted to be approximately 40.2 million fish. Based on the forecast and using the mid-points of the lower or upper portion of escapement goal ranges, depending on forecasted run size, 26.1 million fish are potentially available for commercial inshore harvest. The department manages fisheries based on inseason information regarding abundance. The inseason management approach uses a suite of tools to provide information on abundance in each district as each run develops and that information is used by the department to determine fishing opportunity.

The commercial salmon season in Bristol Bay opens June 1 by regulation. Fishing in eastside districts and Togiak will be allowed using a weekly schedule that will vary by district. The schedules are in place to balance fishing opportunity with escapement in the early part of the season, particularly for king salmon. As each run develops and sockeye salmon run characteristics become defined within individual districts, fishing time will be adjusted accordingly. In the Nushagak District, management will focus on king salmon in the early part of the season, and switch to sockeye salmon management as abundance dictates.

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)

Sockeye Salmon

A run of approximately 6.0 million sockeye salmon is forecasted to return to Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) in 2019, with an expected harvest by all user groups of 4.0 million. The commercial fishery harvest in 2019 is estimated to be approximately 3.0 million sockeye salmon, which is 200,000 fish more than the 20-year average annual commercial sockeye salmon harvest.

The run forecast for the Kenai River is approximately 3.8 million, which is 200,000 greater than the 20-year average run of 3.6 million. In 2019, the predominant age classes are projected to be age 1.3 (71%), age 1.2 (10%), age 2.2 (6%) and age 2.3 (12%). The 10‑year mean absolute percent error (MAPE) for the set of models used for the 2019 Kenai River sockeye salmon forecast is 19%. 

The Kasilof River sockeye salmon run forecast is 873,000 fish, which is 11% less than the 20-year average of 979,000. The predominant age classes in the run forecast are age 1.3 (37%), age 1.2 (27%), age 2.2 (23%), and age 2.3 (11%). The 10-year MAPE for the set of models used for the 2019 Kasilof sockeye salmon run forecast is 19%.

The Susitna River sockeye salmon run forecast is 343,000, which is 16% less than the 20-year average of 409,000. This forecast was derived using mean return per spawner by age class and mark-recapture estimates of spawner abundance for brood years 2006–2014. Sonar estimates of spawner abundance were not used, because mark-recapture studies have shown that the Yentna sonar project underestimated sockeye salmon escapement causing estimates of adult returns to also be underestimated. The 10-year MAPE for this forecast method is 32%. The predominant age classes in the 2019 Susitna sockeye salmon run forecast are age 1.2 (45%) and age 1.3 (40%).

The Fish Creek sockeye salmon run forecast is 124,000, which is 50% greater than the 20-year average run of 83,000. The predominant age classes in the 2019 Fish Creek run forecast are age 1.2 (58%) and age 1.3 (22%). The 10-year MAPE for the Fish Creek sockeye salmon run forecast is 69%.

Forecast runs to individual freshwater systems are as follows:

System Run Goalsa
Kenai River b,c 3,814,000 1,000,000–1,300,000
Kasilof River b,d 873,000 160,000–340,000
Susitna River 343,000
Larson Lake N/A 15,000–35,000e
Chelatna Lake N/A 20,000–45,000e
Judd Lake N/A 15,000–40,000e
Fish Creek 124,000 15,000–45,000e
Unmonitored Systems f 881,000 N/A
Total 6,035,000

a Goals listed here are as follows: Kenai River: Inriver; Kasilof River: Biological Escapement Goal (BEG); Susitna River: Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) (weir goals); and Fish Creek: (SEG).

b  Kenai River goal is DIDSON-BASE; Kasilof river is EROS-based.

Kenai River sustainable escapement goal is 700,000–1,200,000 sockeye salmon.

d  Kasilof River optimal escapement goal (OEG) is 160,000–390,000 sockeye salmon.

e   These goals were modified at the 2017 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting; original goals were: Fish Creek (20,000–70,000); Larson Lake (15,000–50,000); Chelatna Lake (20,000–65,000); and Judd Lake (25,000–55,000).

f   Unmonitored systems are estimated to be 15% of monitored systems.

2019 Fishing Strategy

Northern District Set Gillnet
  • Since 2011, management actions in the Northern District directed king salmon set gillnet fishery have included area closures, time restrictions, and/or regularly scheduled fishing period closures in order to reduce the harvest of northern Cook Inlet king salmon. However, even with restrictions in sport and commercial fisheries in 2018, the Deshka River failed to achieve its king salmon escapement goal, with a total passage of 8,500 fish. The 2019 Deshka River preseason forecast suggests a total run that will not provide enough fish for the Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) to be achieved. Based on this low forecast, and recent low king salmon production throughout the Susitna Drainage, the Division of Sport Fish issued an Emergency Order (EO) prohibiting all fishing for king salmon in the entire Susitna River drainage. In response to the poor Deshka River king salmon forecast and paired with actions taken in the Susitna River drainage king salmon sport fisheries, the Division of Commercial Fisheries released EO 2S-01-19 closing the Northern District directed king salmon commercial fishery for the 2019 season. The fishing periods affected by this closure are May 27, and June 3, 10, 17 and 24. Escapement of king salmon in the Deshka and Little Susitna rivers will be closely monitored during the 2019 season. If runs are better than expected and the Deshka River SEG is projected to be achieved with moderate levels of harvest, reopening the directed king salmon commercial fishery will be considered.
  • Beginning Monday, June 25, the Northern District set gillnet fishery will be managed per provisions found in the Northern District Salmon Management Plan. This plan provides for two 12-hour weekly fishing periods with a full complement of gear and a normal separation between nets of at least 600 feet.
  • Susitna River sockeye salmon remain a stock of yield concern. As a result of this designation, restrictive actions to fisheries that harvest this stock were retained in regulation at the 2017 Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) meeting. According to the Northern District Salmon Management Plan, the department may reduce the legal complement of gear in the Northern District set gillnet fishery to either one or two nets per permit from July 20 through August 6 to conserve Susitna River sockeye salmon. However, in that portion of the General Subdistrict south of the Susitna River, restrictive options for gear reduction are limited to two nets per permit after July 30. In 2019, five different fishing periods could be affected by a reduction of gear. All areas in the Northern District will return to a full complement of gear beginning on Thursday, August 8.
Central District Fisheries

Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery – Overview

The 2019 Kenai River late-run king salmon forecast projects a total run of approximately 21,746 “large” (>75cm mid-eye to tail fork) fish. The SEG for Kenai River late-run king salmon is 13,500–27,000 large fish. If the run returns as forecasted, it would rank as the 4th lowest run, measured as 31st out of 34 years, but would be approximately 20% greater than the 2018 run estimate of 17,571 large fish. Based on the run-size forecast, and if harvest rates are average in both sport and commercial fisheries, the Kenai River late-run king salmon large fish SEG should be met. Thus, to begin the season, fishing time allowed in the Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet (ESSN) fishery will be based on inseason assessment of sockeye salmon abundance, while ensuring adequate king salmon escapement relative to the SEG.

According to 5 AAC 21.360 (b) Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan, the Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon commercial, sport, and personal use fisheries shall be managed to:

(1) meet a sustainable escapement goal (SEG) range of 700,000–1,200,000 late-run sockeye salmon;

(2) achieve inriver goals as established by the board and measured at the Kenai River sonar counter located at river mile 19; and

(3) distribute the escapement of sockeye salmon evenly within the SEG range, in proportion to the size of the run.

All three of these management objectives are complementary to each other. Because the harvest of sockeye salmon by inriver users (sport and federal subsistence) above the sonar counter is not known inseason (although it is estimated for total run projection purposes), the primary inseason management objectives are the abundance-based sockeye salmon inriver goals in the Kenai River and the Biological Escapement Goal (BEG)/Optimal Escapement Goal (OEG) in the Kasilof River. The Kenai River sockeye salmon SEG will be assessed after inriver sport and federal subsistence harvests above the sonar counter are accounted for. Achievement of the inriver goal ranges should result in meeting the SEG and distributing the escapement of sockeye salmon evenly within the SEG range, in proportion to the size of the run.

Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery – Management

Kasilof Section Prior to July 8

  • The Kasilof Section opens on the first regular period on or after June 25, unless the department estimates that 50,000 sockeye salmon are in the Kasilof River prior to that date, at which time the commissioner may open the fishery by EO, however, the fishery may not open earlier than June 20. From the beginning of the season through July 7, this fishery will be open for regular 12-hour periods on Mondays and Thursdays and must close for 36 consecutive hours per week, which is to begin between 7:00 p.m. Thursday and 7:00 a.m. Friday. Additionally, the department may allow up to 48 hours of additional fishing time per week (Sunday through Saturday).

Kasilof, Kenai and East Forelands Sections after July 8th

  • The Kenai and East Forelands sections fishing season opens on or after July 8.
  • Management of the Kasilof, Kenai and East Foreland sections (Upper Subdistrict) set gillnet fishery will be based on the projected run size of Kenai River sockeye salmon and passage levels of sockeye salmon in both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, as well as the abundance of Kenai River late-run large king salmon. From July 1–31, if the run of Kenai River late-run king salmon is projected to meet or exceed the minimum large-fish SEG, then management of the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery is to follow provisions in the Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan. For the 2019 season, the Kenai River sockeye salmon run projection is 3.8 million fish. Therefore, the season will be managed following guidelines outlined for run strengths between 2.3 and 4.6 million fish, which includes an inriver goal range of 1,000,000–1,300,000 fish. The Kenai River sockeye salmon run will be reassessed after July 20 to determine inseason run strength.
  • At the 2019 statewide finfish meeting the board adopted Proposal 181 that exempted the North K-Beach stat area (244-32) when opened within 600 feet of mean high tide from the hourly restrictions found in 5AAC 21.359 and 5AAC 21.360. This provision will apply to the 2019 fishing season.
  • For run strengths between 2.3 and 4.6 million Kenai River sockeye salmon, the ESSN fishery will be open for regular Monday and Thursday 12-hour fishing periods. The fishery will be closed for one continuous 36-hour period per week between 7:00 p.m. Thursday and 7:00 a.m. Friday and for one continuous 24-hour period per week beginning between 7:00 p.m. Monday and 7:00 a.m. Wednesday. The department may allow no more than 51 hours of additional fishing time per week. From July 1–31, if the Kenai River late-run king salmon sport fishery is restricted to no bait or to no bait and no retention of king salmon in order to meet the SEG, management actions in the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery will be “paired” as described in Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan. However, in 2017 the board modified this management plan exempting the East Foreland Section set gillnet fishery from the “paired” restrictive provisions in the plan.

From August 1–15, management of the ESSN fishery is based upon meeting Kenai and Kasilof River sockeye salmon escapement objectives as well as achieving the Kenai River late-run large king salmon SEG. If the king salmon SEG is projected to be met, the ESSN fishery will follow the same provisions in August that applied in July. Paired restrictive provisions in the ESSN fishery are not in effect beginning August 1; however, the fishery is managed per the Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan to meet sockeye and king salmon escapement objectives in both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

According to the Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan, the ESSN fishery closes no later than August 15, but from August 11–15, only Monday and Thursday regular 12-hour fishing periods are allowed. However, the season may close any time after August 7 if during two consecutive fishing periods the sockeye salmon harvest is less than one-percent of the season total. The one-percent rule applies separately to the Kasilof Section and the Kenai/East Foreland sections, which means one of the areas could close under the one-percent rule, while the other area remains open.

Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery – Overview

The department manages the UCI drift gillnet fleet primarily under the guidance of 5 AAC 21.353. Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan. The purpose of this management plan is to ensure adequate escapement of salmon into Northern Cook Inlet drainages and to provide the department with management guidelines. 

Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery – Management

  • The drift gillnet fishery opens the third Monday in June or June 19, whichever is later.
  • From July 9 through July 15:
  1. Drift gillnet fishing is restricted for both regular fishing periods to the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof sections), and Drift Gillnet Area 1.
  2. At run strengths greater than 2.3 million to the Kenai River, one additional 12-hour fishing period may be allowed in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof sections, and Drift Gillnet Area 1.
  3. All additional fishing time is allowed only in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof sections.
  • From July 16 through July 31:
  1. For runs between 2.3 and 4.6 million Kenai River sockeye salmon, fishing during one regular 12-hour fishing period per week will be restricted to one or more of the following sections: The Expanded Kenai or Expanded Kasilof sections of the Upper Subdistrict, the Anchor Point Section of the Lower Subdistrict, or Drift Gillnet Area 1. The remaining weekly 12-hour fishing period and all additional fishing time outside regular fishing periods is allowed only in one or more of the following: The Expanded Kenai Section, the Expanded Kasilof Section, or the Anchor Point Section.
  2. One regular 12-hour fishing period during this time period may be fished in all waters of the Central District instead of in Drift Gillnet Area 1.
  • From August 1 through August 15:
  1. Fishing is open in all waters of the Central District for Monday and Thursday regular 12-hour fishing periods. Additional fishing time outside regular fishing periods and the areas fished will be dependent upon meeting king, sockeye, and coho salmon escapement objectives.
  2. Two one-percent rules apply during this time period, the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet one‑percent rule and the Central District drift gillnet one-percent rule (see 5 AAC 21.310(b)(2)(C)(iii) and 5 AAC 21.353(e)). If either one-percent rule is triggered, regular drift fishing periods will be restricted to Drift Areas 3 and 4.
  • From August 16 until closed by EO:
  1. Drift Areas 3 and 4 are open for regular periods.
  2. Chinitna Bay may be opened by EO if chum salmon escapement objectives are achieved in Clearwater Creek.

SEASON OPENING DATES

Season opening dates in 2019 for the fisheries around the inlet are as follows:

  • Northern District King Salmon Fishery: Closed (see above). The preseason projection for Deshka River king salmon run is much below average, the Division of Commercial Fisheries released an EO closing the Northern District directed king salmon commercial fishery for the 2019 season.
  • Big River Fishery: June 3 and continuing through June 24. Weekly fishing periods are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Western Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery: June 17.
  • Drift Gillnet Fishery: June 20.
  • All remaining set gillnet fisheries, except the Upper Subdistrict: June 27.
  • Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery: June 27 for the Kasilof Section (that portion south of the Blanchard Line). This fishery may be opened earlier by EO based on an inriver estimate of 50,000 sockeye salmon in the Kasilof River but may not open before June 20. The Kenai and East Forelands sections (that portion of the Upper Subdistrict north of the Blanchard Line) will open on Monday, July 8. All Sections of the Upper Subdistrict close by regulation in 2019 on August 15.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)

The overall commercial common property harvest from Lower Cook Inlet (LCI) is anticipated to be 3.7 million salmon. The LCI management area forecast for commercial common property fishery (CCPF) harvests by species are summarized in Table 1. The wild-stock pink salmon harvest forecast was derived from an exponential-smoothing (ES) model based on historical odd-year harvests (1961–2017). The wild-stock sockeye and Chinook salmon harvest forecasts were derived from ES models based on historical, log-transformed harvests from 1960–2018 (all years). The chum and coho salmon forecasts were derived by ES and 2-year running average models, respectively, using non-transformed historical harvest data from 1960–2018 (all years). Because these models generate area-wide forecasts, we used the recent 5-year average CCPF harvest (by district and gear type) to apportion the area forecast into harvest projections by district and gear type. Projected runs of hatchery-origin salmon were provided by the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA). Together, these projections of hatchery and wild stock runs will provide the basis for early-season management in all districts, with other management tools such as aerial survey estimates, weir counts, remote video monitoring and anticipated run strength used as the season progresses.

In the Southern District, the commercial set gillnet fishery is anticipated to open for the 2019 season at 6:00 AM on Monday, June 3. The first fishing period will be 48 hours in length as will following periods that will start at 6:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays.

Portions of the Southern District are anticipated to open to purse seine harvest in mid-June, coinciding with enhanced runs to Leisure and Hazel lakes. Historically, this run peaks from July 14–20 (week 29). CIAA anticipates a return of 69,400 sockeye salmon to Leisure and Hazel lakes combined, as well as 53,400 sockeye salmon to Tutka Bay. Commercial fishing time after mid-July will be correlated to pink salmon escapement at Humpy Creek, Seldovia Bay, Port Graham and other locations in this district. A total of 2.1 million hatchery-produced pink salmon are anticipated to return to release sites in the Southern District. 

Hatchery sockeye salmon runs to the Eastern District are forecasted by CIAA to be 305,600 fish. Of those, 61,900 may be available for CCPF harvest with the balance required for cost recovery and broodstock purposes. Wild stock harvest opportunity in the Eastern District will be linked to aerial survey observations of wild sockeye and pink salmon escapements to Aialik Lake and other spawning systems in this district. In addition, surveys of chum salmon stocks in Resurrection Bay and Day Harbor may be flown, weather and time permitting.

Portions of the Outer District may open to CCPF harvest in mid-July focusing on sockeye salmon runs to McCarty Fjord lakes. In recent years, escapement to these systems has been monitored by aerial survey (Delight, Desire, and Delusion lakes). In 2019, sockeye salmon escapement into Delight Lake may be monitored by CIAA using a weir. In addition, waters in the western portion of this district may be open by mid-July, focusing on pink and chum salmon runs to Port Dick, as well as Windy and Rocky bays. There are numerous other smaller stocks in the Nuka Passage area that are also monitored for chum and pink salmon. In the far west end of this district, stocks with the latest run timing, i.e., Dogfish Bay, Chugach Bay and Port Chatham, will be evaluated for chum and pink salmon harvest potential from August to early September. The harvest projections for this district are 5,700 sockeye, 68,100 chum, and approximately 2.2 million pink salmon.

Portions of the Kamishak Bay District typically open by regulation to commercial harvest on June 1. Commercial common property harvest projections for this district are 39,300 sockeye, 9,800 chum salmon, and 106,900 pink salmon. Most of the sockeye salmon harvest is expected to come from the Chenik Lake run, and the chum salmon harvest has historically been spread throughout the district. Chenik Lagoon is anticipated to open in mid-June and remain open throughout the season. Hatchery-released sockeye salmon to the Kirschner Lake outfall remote release site are anticipated to be 39,000 fish, all of which will likely be required for hatchery cost recovery. The department tracks salmon escapement in this district using remote video monitoring sites at Chenik and Mikfik lakes, as well as regular aerial survey observations of pink and chum salmon index streams (e.g., Big and Little Kamishak rivers, Bruin River, Cottonwood Creek). In 2018, CIAA released 305,000 pink salmon into upper Paint Lake; of those, approximately 9,200 are anticipated to return in 2019.

Table 1.–Projected commercial common property harvests and hatchery runs for Lower Cook Inlet, 2019.

SOCKEYE SALMON

 

Total anticipated harvest =

257,100

Natural stocks, (area-wide commercial harvest)a

 

 125,800

Southern District, (purse seine, excluding hatchery SHAs)

   

50,400

Southern District, (set gillnet)

     

30,300

Eastern District, (Aialik Bay)

     

0

Outer District

     

5,700

Kamishak Bay District, (excluding Kirschner Lake Subdistrict)

 

39,300

Sockeye salmon hatchery programsb Hatchery return Broodstock harvest Cost recovery harvest CCPF harvest
Resurrection Bay 305,600 12,760 230,900 61,900
China Poot and Hazel lakes 69,400 0 0 69,400
Tutka Bay Lagoon 53,400 4,500 48,900 0
Kirschner Lake 39,000 0 39,000 0
Port Graham Bay 0 0 0 0
English Bay Lakes 0 0 0 0
Hatchery stocks (area-wide totals) 467,400 17,260 318,800 131,300

PINK SALMON   

Total anticipated harvest =

3,347,900

Natural stocks, (area-wide commercial harvest)a

 

2,403,700

Southern District (purse seine, excluding hatchery SHAs)

 

106,500

Southern District (set gillnet)

 

20,000

Eastern District

     

100

Outer District

     

2,170,100

Kamishak Bay District

     

106,900

 

Pink salmon hatchery programsb

Hatchery return

Broodstock harvest

Cost recovery harvest

CCPF harvest

Tutka Bay Lagoon

1,501,200

176,800

744,400

580,000

Port Graham Bay

625,500

108,000

162,500

355,000

Paint River fish ladder

9,200

0

0

9,200

Hatchery stocks (area-wide totals)

2,135,900

284,800

906,900

944,200

CHUM SALMONNatural productiona

Total anticipated harvest =

84,800

Southern District (purse seine)

 

 

 

1,700

Southern District (set gillnet)

     

5,200

Eastern District

     

100

Outer District

     

68,100

Kamishak Bay District

     

9,800

COHO SALMONNatural productiona

Total anticipated harvest =

13,700

Southern District (purse seine)

 

 

 

2,700

Southern District (set gillnet)

     

6,700

Eastern District

     

0

Outer District

     

200

Kamishak Bay District

     

4,100

CHINOOK SALMONNatural productiona

Total anticipated harvest =

500

Southern District (purse seine)

 

 

 

100

Southern District (set gillnet)

     

400

Eastern District

     

0

Outer District

     

0

Kamishak Bay District

 

 

 

0

Total LCI anticipated commercial common property harvest- all salmon species =

3,704,000

a Provided by Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, based on parent year releases and recent ocean survival.

b Available online at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyarealci.salmon#forecasts

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Kodiak

Kodiak

The 2019 Kodiak Management Area (KMA) preseason forecast projects a harvest of approximately 2,336,000 sockeye, 318,000 coho, 27,000,000 pink, and 935,000 chum salmon.

KMA June and July Sockeye Salmon:

Karluk River: The Karluk River early-run forecast projects a total run of 273,000 sockeye salmon. The target escapement goal is 200,000 sockeye salmon and a harvest estimate of 73,000 fish.

Ayakulik River: The Ayakulik River forecast projects a total run of 401,000 sockeye salmon. The target escapement goal is 300,000 sockeye salmon and a harvest estimate of 101,000 fish.

Upper Station: The Upper Station early-run forecast projects a total run of 70,000 sockeye salmon. The target escapement goal is 65,000 sockeye salmon and a harvest estimate of 5,000 fish.

Frazer Lake: The Frazer Lake forecast projects a total run of 421,000 sockeye salmon. The target escapement goal is 137,000 sockeye salmon and a harvest estimate of 284,000 fish.

Telrod Cove: The Spiridon Lake forecast projects a total run of 209,000 sockeye salmon. The hatchery is expected to cost recover 300,000 pounds of fish.

Other Hatchery Sockeye Salmon: Other KMA hatchery sockeye salmon enhancement projects are projected to harvest a total of 24,000 fish.

Cape Igvak: The Cape Igvak Section of the Mainland District is projected to harvest 119,000 sockeye salmon.

Minor Sockeye systems: There are no formal forecasts for the minor sockeye salmon stocks of Little River, Uganik, Afognak, Thorsheim, Pauls, Persnosa, Buskin, Pasagshak, Saltery, Miam, Ocean Beach, Horse Marine, Akalura, Kaflia, or Swikshak.

KMA August and September Sockeye Salmon:

Karluk River: The Karluk River late-run forecast projects a total run of 1,050,000 sockeye salmon. The target escapement goal is 325,000 sockeye salmon and a harvest estimate of 725,000 fish.

Upper Station: The Upper Station late-run forecast projects a total run of 223,000 sockeye salmon. The target escapement goal is 186,000 sockeye salmon and a harvest estimate of 37,000 fish.

KMA Chum Salmon Fishery (June, July and August):

Wild stock (July and August): The KMA wild chum salmon harvest is expected to be 674,000 fish.

Kitoi Bay Hatchery (June and July): The hatchery is projecting a return in excess of broodstock needs of 261,000 chum salmon. No cost recovery is planned on this hatchery stock.

Kodiak Pink Salmon Fishery (July and August):

Wild Stock: The KMA wild pink salmon forecast projects a total run of 25,400,000 fish. The target escapement goal is 5,000,000 pink salmon and a harvest estimate of 20,400,000 fish.

Kitoi Bay Hatchery: The hatchery is projecting a return in excess of broodstock needs of 6,600,000 pink salmon. The hatchery is planning to cost recover 4,500,000 pounds.

Kodiak Coho Salmon Fishery (August and September):

Wild stock (August and September): The KMA wild coho salmon harvest is expected to be 285,000 fish.

Kitoi Bay Hatchery (August and September): The hatchery is projecting a return in excess of broodstock needs of 33,000 chum salmon. No cost recovery is planned on this hatchery stock.

In the Afognak District, the cumulative Afognak Lake (Litnik) sockeye salmon escapement through June 16 is 0, which is average for this time of the year.

The Karluk River, Ayakulik River, Upper Station, Dog Salmon Creek (Frazer), Buskin River, Pasagshak River, and Saltery River weirs are not yet operational.

There is currently little or no early information on sockeye salmon runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Saltery, Pasagshak, 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 200 seiners and 165 set gillnetters will participate. 

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula

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

South Peninsula

No commercial salmon fishing will occur in the waters of the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area until June 6, 2019. The first scheduled commercial salmon fishing period will begin on Thursday, June 6 at 6:00 AM until Saturday, June 10 at 10:00 PM for set gillnet gear only.

No escapement information is currently available. No aerial surveys have been flown yet, which is normal for this time of year. There is one salmon enumeration weir operated in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area, the Orzinski Weir. Typically, the Orzinski Weir is installed in the second week of June.

At this time little information is known about the level of participation for the commercial salmon fishing fleet for the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area. There is one management plan in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area that has allocative ties to another area. The Southeastern District Mainland Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 09.360) is based off the Chignik Management Area (Area L) harvest. No commercial salmon fishing has occurred in Chignik at this time.

No harvest has occurred in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area commercial salmon fishery at this time. No commercial salmon fishing will take place until Thursday, June 6.

No significant developments to the fishery in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area have occurred. A preseason meeting will be hosted by ADF&G staff on Wednesday, May 29 in Sand Point and teleconference will be available at select locations in Anchorage, King Cove, False Pass, Port Moller, and Nelson Lagoon. This annual event is a chance for the fishermen, processors, members of the public, and other agencies to discuss the upcoming salmon fishing season in Area M with the ADF&G Management staff.

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Chignik

The 2019 Chignik Management Area preseason forecast projects an approximate total run estimate of 1,747,000 sockeye salmon. The total forecasted sockeye salmon harvest in the Chignik Management Area is 827,000 fish. Beginning June 1, the first commercial fishing period may occur after approximately 20,000 sockeye salmon have escaped into the Chignik River. Commercial openings will be announced via emergency order. For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for 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

Commercial fishing opportunities to harvest summer chum salmon will be based on inseason run assessment, processor capacity, and the need to conserve Chinook salmon. The summer chum salmon commercial fishery will likely begin in mid-June with selective gear types including dip nets and beach seines with no retention of Chinook salmon allowed. Commercial fishing with gill nets may occur after the midpoint of the Chinook salmon run has passed.

The department may consider sale of Chinook salmon incidentally-caught in the commercial chum salmon fishery. This would only be considered if: assessment indicates the Chinook salmon run size is near the upper end of the outlook range, goals are projected to be met, subsistence fishing opportunity has been provided and restrictions relaxed. Any sale would likely be after most Chinook salmon have passed the lower river for escapement and subsistence harvest purposes.

2019 Run and Harvest Outlook for Yukon River Salmon
Chinook Summer Chum Fall Chum Coho
Projection: Below Average Average Average Average
Escapement: Potential to meet goals Expect to meet goals Expect to meet goals Expect to meet goal
Subsistence: Some restrictions Expect to provide for normal harvest Expect to provide for normal harvest Expect to provide for normal harvest
Commercial: No directed fishery Up to 1.2 million available 350,000 to 610,000 available 30,000 to 200,000 available

The Chinook salmon outlook is a range that could fall below or above the recent 10-year average run size. Fall chum salmon projection and harvestable surplus totals will be revised in early July based on summer chum salmon run size.

The full outlook flier can be found here: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/applications/dcfnewsrelease/1029815354.pdf

Kuskokwim River

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Kuskokwim Management Area

Norton Sound

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Norton Sound & Kotzebue Management Area

Kotzebue

For more information, please visit the ADF&G website for the Norton Sound & Kotzebue Management Area

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