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 Chinook Salmon Symposium

The Southeast Chinook Salmon Symposium hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be available statewide through live-stream audio.

This event is scheduled for Monday, May 21, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Sitka's Harrigan Centennial Hall. All event materials, presentations, and live-stream audio will be provided on the department's website at 2018 Sitka Chinook Symposium.

This event is free and open to the public. Presentation topics include:

  • 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.

The department encourages those interested in Southeast Chinook salmon issues to tune in to this evening of informative presentations by our fisheries research and management team.


 
Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery

The 2018 winter troll fishery closed by emergency order on March 15, after being open since October 11, 2017. During the 2018 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka, action plans to conserve wild Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon were adopted.  One of the restrictions under the Unuk River action plan calls for a closure of the winter troll fishery on March 15, notwithstanding any remaining portion of the 45,000 non-Alaska hatchery fish guideline harvest level.  A total of 11,945 Chinook salmon were harvested by 328 permit holders. Record prices reached $12.31/lb. during the last two week of the fishery, while the average price for the season was also a record, at $11.31/lb. The seasonal average weight of 11.3 lbs. was up from 2017 but was a decrease from both the 5-year and 10-year averages. The contribution of Alaska hatchery-produced Chinook salmon of approximately 726 fish represented 6% of the total harvest.  This was a decrease of 75% from 2017, and a decrease from the 5-year and 10-year averages of 77% and 80%, respectively.

In addition to the winter troll conservation measures, the Unuk River action plan also recommended conservation measures for the spring fisheries. 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 2018, are limited to seven terminal harvest areas and eight spring troll areas located on the outer coast and/or near hatchery release sites. When compared to recent years' openings, a reduced number of spring troll and terminal harvest fisheries opened May 1. A total of 12 spring troll and terminal harvest areas have been opened to date, with two additional spring troll areas and one additional terminal harvest area opening initially in June. Through May 16 (Stat Week 20), approximately 108 permits holders have made 202 landings, with a total of 760 Chinook harvested.  This is a decrease in effort from both 2017 and the 5-year average, primarily due to the reduction in the number of areas opened. The 2018 cumulative spring Chinook harvest through May 16 is down from 2017 and the 5-year average by 1,298 and 3,604, respectively. The current spring troll seasonal average weight for Chinook salmon of 11.9 lbs. is just above the 2017 average of 11.1 lbs. but is below the 5-year average of 12.2 lbs. during the same weeks.  The seasonal Chinook salmon average price per pound of $12.49 is a $3.16 increase from 2017, and a $4.51 increase from the 5-year average. 

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

Purse Seine Fishery

The Southeast Alaska purse seine fishery is managed according to statute, regulations, emergency order authority, and in consultation with the public and industry through the Purse Seine Management Task Force process. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued a preseason forecast for a harvest of 23 million pink salmon for 2018. This forecast for pink salmon, together with historical escapement estimates, fishery performance data, private non-profit hatchery forecasts for chum salmon and other species, are used to determine the management plan.

Regulations allow purse seine fishing in Districts 1 (Sections 1-C, 1-D, 1-E, and 1-F only), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Sections 6-C and 6-D only), 7, 9, 10, 11 (Sections 11-A and 11-D only), 12, 13, and 14. Purse seine fishing is also allowed in hatchery terminal harvest areas (THA) at Neets Bay, Kendrick Bay, Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, and Hidden Falls. Although the areas specified above are designated purse seine fishing areas, specific open areas and fishing times are established inseason by emergency order.

Since statehood, 77% of the salmon harvested in SEAK commercial fisheries have been caught with purse seine gear. Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) is the primary species targeted by the purse seine fleet; therefore, most management actions are based on the abundance of pink salmon stocks. Chum salmon (O. keta) are targeted in or near hatchery terminal areas and the majority of the chum salmon harvest is from hatchery production. Other species of salmon are harvested incidentally to pink and chum salmon.

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 opens the third Sunday in June, or Sunday, June 17, 2018. For further details concerning this fishery, the 2018 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 526 kB).

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

The 2018 preseason terminal run forecast for Stikine River large king salmon is 6,900 fish. This forecast is well below the average of 22,000 fish and well below the escapement goal range of 14,000–28,000 fish. This forecast does not allow for directed king salmon fisheries in District 8. Recent trends of Stikine River king salmon abundance and trends in king salmon abundance throughout SEAK indicate very poor survival of king salmon. As such, conservation measures will be in place for the start of the sockeye salmon fishery.

The 2018 preseason forecast for Stikine River sockeye salmon is 161,000 fish, which is near the average of 159,000 fish. This forecast includes: 112,000 Tahltan Lake, 13,000 enhanced Tuya Lake, and 36,000 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 10). However, with an expected poor run of Stikine River king salmon, conservation measures will be in place in both districts. Conservation measures include; delaying the initial sockeye salmon opening by 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 17 will be limited to 48 hours. The following week, both Districts will be open for an initial 48 hours on June 24 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 District 11 drift gillnet fishery will be managed in accordance with the Transboundary River (TBR)Annex of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST). Harvest sharing arrangements for Chinook, sockeye, and coho salmon through the 2018 fishing season are specified in the annex.

The preseason forecast is well below the escapement goal range and requires a conservative management approach for the 2018 Taku River Chinook salmon run. The forecast does not provide any AC for U.S. fisheries in early May, no assessment fishery will occur on the Canadian side of the border, and the joint U.S./Canada inriver assessment project on the U.S. side of the border will be minimized to reduce the number of fish handled. Inseason abundance estimates derived from comparisons of inriver tangle net CPUE may be available in mid- to late May and would be used to determine the extent of restrictions implemented during the initial weeks of the traditional sockeye salmon season possibly involving adjustments in time, area, and mesh size. However, inseason assessment may cease if the run does not appear large enough to allow the additional handling of fish.

Section 11-B will open for directed sockeye salmon fishing on the third Sunday in June (June 17) likely for a two-day fishing period with an area restriction closing waters in Taku Inlet north of Point Greely and west of a line of longitude running mid-inlet from the latitude of Point Greely to a point where it intersects with the shoreline south of Grand Island. A six-inch maximum mesh size restriction and night closures will be in effect. The second opening will likely have identical restrictions to the first. The maximum mesh size restriction and night closures will remain in place through at least the third opening and area may be liberalized during the third opening to have only those waters in the northern portion of Taku Inlet closed (for example, north of Cooper Point). Subsequent openings will be based on inseason fishery performance and stock assessment information, but Taku Inlet will likely only open for two days through the fifth opening and waters north of Jaw Point will be closed for the fourth and fifth openings.

The District 11 fishery will be managed through mid-August primarily on the basis of sockeye salmon abundance. Run strength will be evaluated using harvest and CPUE data, and weekly inriver run size estimates derived from the Taku River fish wheel mark-recapture project. Contribution of enhanced stocks of sockeye salmon will be estimated inseason by analysis of salmon otoliths sampled from the commercial harvests. The age and stock compositions of the commercial harvest of wild sockeye salmon will be estimated after the fishing season by scale pattern and genetic stock identification (GSI) analysis.

The returns of Port Snettisham enhanced sockeye salmon will be managed according to the District 11: Snettisham Hatchery Salmon Management Plan. The plan provides basic guidelines for managing enhanced sockeye salmon production from Port Snettisham including the following provisions in order of priority:

  • Sustainable production of wild sockeye salmon from Crescent and Speel lakes;
  • Manage Port Snettisham enhanced sockeye salmon returns in a manner that does not prevent achieving escapement goals or PST harvest sharing agreements for Taku River salmon stocks;
  • Assessment programs shall be conducted to estimate Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon stock escapements and contributions of enhanced sockeye salmon to the District 11 commercial fishery;
  • Common property harvests in the Speel Arm Special Harvest Area (SHA) shall be conducted by limiting time and area to protect wild sockeye salmon returns.

Management of the fishery in Stephens Passage will focus on conservation of Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon stocks, particularly in July. ADF&G intends to implement a six-inch minimum mesh size restriction in Section 11-B south of Circle Point in order to limit harvest rates on Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon while allowing harvest of enhanced chum salmon returning to the Limestone Inlet remote release site. The mesh restriction in Section 11-B may be relaxed at the end of July or after the peak migration timing of Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon stocks through Stephens Passage.

A personal use fishery will be allowed in Sweetheart Creek to ensure enhanced sockeye salmon returns to this site are fully utilized. Sweetheart Creek is naturally blocked to anadromous fish migration several hundred yards upstream from the mouth. The Sweetheart Creek personal use fishery will be open seven days per week starting June 1.

In order to avoid conflicts with sport fisheries, the District 11 drift gillnet fishery will not be open concurrent with the 2018 Juneau Golden North Salmon Derby (August 17–19) and will not open until Monday, August 20.

Pink salmon are harvested in Section 11-B incidental to sockeye and enhanced summer chum salmon fisheries. Fishing time for a directed pink salmon fishery in Section 11-C will depend upon the strength of pink salmon returns to lower Stephens Passage, Seymour Canal, and the northern portions of District 10. Returns will be closely monitored, but an opening in Section 11-C is highly unlikely based on parent-year escapements.

Beginning in mid-August, management of the Taku/Snettisham drift gillnet fishery will be based primarily on the run strength of returning Taku River coho salmon. In 2015, a point escapement goal of 70,000 Taku River coho salmon with a range of 50,000–90,000 fish was adopted by the TBR Panel. Similar to the past several seasons, Canada may harvest all coho salmon that pass above the border in excess of both the point escapement goal and a 5,000 fish assessment fishery. The District 11 fishery will be managed to provide a minimum above border run of 75,000 coho salmon. Inseason management will be based on evaluation of the fishery catch, effort, and CPUE relative to historical levels, inriver run size estimates from the Taku River mark-recapture project, and recovery of CWT Taku River wild and hatchery coho salmon in marine fisheries.

Lynn Canal/District 15

The gillnet fishery in Lynn Canal, District 15, will begin at noon on June 17 (SW 25) and will be managed according to the Lynn Canal and Chilkat River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 33.384) and the Board of Fisheries guidelines reported in the Chilkat River and King Salmon River King Salmon Stock Status and Action Plan, 2018 (Lum and Fair 2018).

The Lynn Canal drift gillnet fishery operates in the waters of District 15 and is divided into three regulatory sections: 15-A (upper Lynn Canal), 15-B (Berners Bay), and 15-C (lower Lynn Canal). This fishery has historically targeted sockeye salmon from late June through September and fall chum and coho salmon from mid-August to mid-October throughout District 15. In recent decades, the fishery has harvested substantial numbers of hatchery summer chum salmon in Section 15-C returning to DIPAC release sites at Boat Harbor and Amalga Harbor THAs. Section 15-B has only opened once in the last 10 years to target coho salmon.

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 during SWs 25–27 (June 17-July 7) in Section 15-A and during SWs 25–26 (June 17-30) in Section 15-C. 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. during SWs 25–28 (June 17-July 14) in Sections 15-A and 15-C. Time and area restrictions outlined in following sections will also be implemented to minimize the catch of Chinook salmon.

Wild sockeye salmon returning to the Chilkat and Chilkoot lakes make up the majority of sockeye salmon harvest in District 15 with additional contribution from the Chilkat River main-stem stock. The parent years for the 2018 return to Chilkat Lake had an escapement of 108,000 in 2012 and 111,000 in 2013, which is close to the midpoint of the escapement goal range of 70,000–150,000. Zooplankton prey observations during the first summer of lake rearing for these brood years indicated above average abundances of Copepods and Cladocerans. The strong parent-year escapement and zooplankton abundance suggest an average to above average return of sockeye salmon to Chilkat Lake in 2018. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 run to Chilkoot Lake was 46,000 sockeye salmon which is near the lower bound of the escapement goal range (38,000–86,000). Zooplankton prey observations during the first summer of lake rearing for this brood year and the pre-smolt estimate in the fall from hydroacoustic observations were above average. The low parent-year escapement and strong zooplankton and pre-smolt estimates suggest an average or below average run of sockeye salmon to Chilkoot Lake in 2018.

Sockeye salmon are typically caught throughout District 15 starting in the first week of the season (SW 25). The Chilkoot Lake sockeye salmon are usually first to enter Lynn Canal followed by the Chilkat Lake stock which are present throughout the sockeye salmon management season. Sockeye salmon are targeted in Section 15-A and are targeted or incidentally caught while targeting chum salmon in Section 15-C. Area restrictions that will influence sockeye salmon harvest in Section 15-A include closing the area north of Eldred Rock Lighthouse during SWs 25–29 (June 17–July 21) by implementing and exceeding conservation measures of the Lynn Canal and Chilkat River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan, 2018 (Lum and Fair 2018). Furthermore, the area west of a line from Eldred Rock Light to a point two nmi from the eastern shoreline at 58°51.00′ N. latitude, 135°12.77′ W. longitude, will also be closed through SW 29. In Section 15-C, area restrictions that may influence sockeye salmon harvest include opening for a maximum of two days in the "Postage Stamp" for SW 25 (June 17- 23) and a maximum of two days south of the latitude of Vanderbilt Reef in SW 26 (June 24-30). The "Postage Stamp" area is defined as: The 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. After SW 29 in Section 15-A and after SW 26 in Section 15-C, the Chilkat Chinook salmon run is mostly through the area and traditional Lynn Canal management practices will begin based on in-season observations of Chinook salmon returns to the Chilkat River and sockeye salmon returns to Chilkat and Chilkoot lakes.

Approximately 1,984,000 summer chum salmon are forecasted to return to DIPAC release sites at Boat Harbor and Amalga Harbor THAs in 2018. The commercial harvest is expected to be 1,454,000 chum salmon. This forecast is slightly below the 10-year average but well above the long-term historical average. Summer chum salmon harvests are expected to be average to above average in 2018. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 return of Chilkat River fall chum salmon was estimated to be 140,000 fish. Although this is still within the escapement goal range, it is below the midpoint and is lower than the 10-year average of 234,000. Fall chum salmon returns to the Chilkat River are expected to be average to below average for 2018. Summer chum salmon returning to the DIPAC release site at the Boat Harbor THA are caught in Section 15-C starting in the first week of the season (SW 25). Area, time, and gear restrictions outlined in previous sections to minimize Chinook salmon retention will likely impact the fleet's ability to harvest chum salmon outside the Boat Harbor THA. The Chilkat River fall chum salmon run begins in late August. The run will be monitored by evaluation of harvest in the District 15 drift gillnet fishery and by fish wheel catches. If the indications are for a strong run, fishing area may be expanded to include the Chilkat Inlet in Section 15-A.

The Chilkat River is the primary source of the commercial coho salmon harvest in Lynn Canal with some contributions from Berners River. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 return to the Chilkat River was estimated at 49,000 fish which is near the mid-point of the escapement goal range of 30,000–70,000 fish. The parent-year escapement for the 2018 return of coho salmon to the Berners River was 12,500 fish which was above the escapement goal range of 4,000–9,200. Coho salmon returns to Lynn Canal are expected to be average.  The Chilkat River coho salmon run begins in late August. The run will be monitored by evaluation of harvest in the District 15 drift gillnet fishery and by fish wheel catches. If the indications are for a strong run, fishing area may be expanded to include the Chilkat Inlet in Section 15-A.

Parent-year pink salmon escapements to District 15, and throughout the northern part of the region, were below average in 2016. Returns of pink salmon to the northern Southeast Alaska inside waters are expected to be low for 2018 as stocks continue the trend of low even-year abundance. Pink salmon start their return to Lynn Canal in the beginning of July and are caught incidentally when targeting sockeye salmon. If the pink salmon return is strong as indicated by aerial surveys and there are no sockeye salmon concerns, Lutak Inlet may be opened to target pink salmon.

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 Transboundary Rivers Chinook salmon stocks are experiencing unprecedented levels of poor production; record low runs were observed for many of these stocks in 2017 and 2018 forecasts indicate continued poor levels of production in 2018. In an effort to bolster spawning escapements, Alaska and Canada are coordinating fisheries management per treaty obligations to minimize harvest of depressed Chinook 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 17. Yakutat Bay and the Dangerous River will open on the second Sunday in June (June 10). The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and the Manby Shore fisheries will open on the third Sunday in June (June 17). The remainder of the Yakutat District will open on the fourth Sunday in June (June 24). 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 2018 are expected to be average to above average. The 2018 preseason projection of a total return of 730 large Chinook salmon to the Situk River is indicative of an average return, however, 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 of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon is 260,300 and for fall chum salmon is 56,890. Nakat Inlet opens to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Friday, June 1, 2018. 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 on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Currently there is no reported harvest. 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 opens to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Friday, June 15, 2018. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Anita Bay THA

The 2018 Anita Bay THA forecast includes: 459,000 summer chum, 15,400 king, 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 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. The harvest to date is confidential.  For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Deep Inlet THA

The Deep Inlet THA opens on May 1; rotational fisheries begin 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 king salmon, and 66,000 coho salmon. This season, 90,000 chum salmon are needed for broodstock. 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 17 and June 24. Subsequent openings will be dependent on inseason run strength. Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 593,000 chum salmon and 191,000 coho salmon, and 2,000 king salmon are expected to return in 2018.  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.

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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 May 17. This was the first fishing period of the 2018 season. Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 10. To date, one salmon has been enumerated at the sonar site. Waters inside of the barrier islands from Steamboat through Little Softuk were closed during the fishing period on May 17.

The preliminary harvest from the first Copper River District commercial fishing period was 2,800 king and 1,900 sockeye salmon with 366 deliveries reported. The anticipated sockeye salmon harvest for this fishing period was 38,600 fish. Break-up of the Copper River is behind normal and river water levels are low for this date.

The 2018 inriver goal past the Miles Lake sonar is 644,000–1.03 million salmon. The upper Copper River sustainable escapement goal (SEG) is 360,000–750,000 wild sockeye salmon, and the Copper River delta SEG is 55,000-130,000 sockeye salmon. The department's goal is to maintain the long-term averages of 450,000 sockeye salmon in the upper Copper River spawning escapement and 84,500 sockeye salmon in the Copper River Delta spawning escapement.

The standard commercial fishing schedule is two evenly-spaced fishing periods per week with the first period each week starting on Mondays at 7:00 a.m. Depending on fishing effort, harvest, and escapement trends on the Copper River Delta and at Miles Lake sonar station, a decision on a possible second weekly fishing period will be made by 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. The second period will typically begin at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine

The 2018 combined pink salmon forecast for Prince William Sound (PWS) is 34.35 million fish, of which 28.31 million will be available for  Commercial Common Property Fishery (CCPF)harvest. This pink salmon forecast includes 16.93 million Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) fish, 15.40 million Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) hatchery fish, and a CCPF forecast of 2.02 million wild fish. Approximately 3.03 million (18%) of the projected 16.93 million pink salmon run to VFDA's Solomon Gulch Hatchery will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock leaving 13.90 million for CCPF. Approximately 3.01 million (20%) of the projected 15.40 million pink salmon run to the PWSAC hatcheries will be needed for cost recovery and broodstock. The remaining 12.39 million PWSAC pink salmon will be available for common property harvest. The 2018 PWS wild pink salmon CCPF forecast is 2.02 million. The department will manage for each district's escapement aerial index goal for a cumulative SEG of 575,000–992,000.

The 2018 chum salmon forecast total run in PWS is 3.45 million fish. The majority, 3.06 million fish (89%), are from PWSAC hatchery production, with 450,000 fish returning to the Armin F. Koernig hatchery (AFK) and 150,000 fish returning to Port Chalmers Subdistrict. The 2018 PWS wild chum salmon CCPF forecast is 391,000 fish. The department will manage for each district's escapement goal, aiming for each district's long-term average, for a combined total of 200,000 fish.

The PWS purse seine fishery will begin on Friday, June 1 targeting the enhanced chum salmon run to the AFK hatchery and Port Chalmers remote release site. At the AFK hatchery, a regular schedule of two 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 PWS. Starting on Thursday, June 15 daily fishing periods will be used to allow for more frequent monitoring of purse seine harvests.

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Bristol Bay

The 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run is forecasted to be approximately 51.3 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, 37.6 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 Chinook 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 of the Chinook salmon fishery will govern fishing time in the early part of the season, followed by directed sockeye salmon management as abundance dictates.

Inseason Harvest Information

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)

Season opening dates in 2018 for the various fisheries around the inlet are as follows:

  • Northern District King Salmon Fishery: Closed.  Because the preseason projection of the Deshka River Chinook salmon run is below average, the Division of Commercial Fisheries released an Emergency Order (EO) closing the Northern District directed Chinook salmon commercial fishery for the 2018 season
  • Big River Fishery: June 1 and continuing through June 24, unless the 1,000 Chinook salmon harvest limit is reached prior to that date.  Weekly fishing periods are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Western Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery: June 18.
  • Drift Gillnet Fishery: June 21.
  • All remaining set gillnet fisheries, except the Upper Subdistrict: June 25.
  • Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery: June 25 for the Kasilof Section (that portion south of the Blanchard Line), unless opened earlier by EO (based on an inriver estimate of 50,000 sockeye salmon in the Kasilof River before the June 25 opener) but will 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 9. All Sections of the Upper Subdistrict will close for the season on or before August 15.

A run of approximately 4.6 million sockeye salmon is forecasted to return to Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) in 2018, with an expected harvest by all user groups of 2.6 million.  The commercial fishery harvest in 2018 is estimated to be approximately 1.9 million sockeye salmon, which is 900,000 fish less than the most recent 10-year average annual commercial sockeye salmon harvest of 2.8 million fish.

The run forecast for the Kenai River is approximately 2.5 million, which is 1.1 million less than the 20-year average run of 3.6 million.  In 2018, the predominant age classes are projected to be age 1.3 (47%), age 1.2 (17%), age 2.2 (5%) and age 2.3 (29%).  The 10‑year mean absolute percent error (MAPE) for the set of models used for the 2018 Kenai River sockeye salmon forecast is 14%. 

The Kasilof River sockeye salmon run forecast is 866,000 fish, which is 11% less than the 20-year average of 971,000. The predominant age classes in the run forecast are age 1.2 (29%), age 1.3 (34%), age 2.2 (26%), and age 2.3 (9%).  The 10-year MAPE for the set of models used for the 2018 Kasilof sockeye salmon run forecast is 21%.

The Susitna River sockeye salmon run forecast is 329,000, which is 18% less than the 10-year average of 398,000.  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 5-year MAPE for this forecast method is 17%.  The predominant age classes in the 2018 Susitna sockeye salmon run forecast are age 1.2 (20%) and age 1.3 (57%).

The Fish Creek sockeye salmon run forecast is 211,000, which is 276% greater than the 20-year average run of 76,000.  The predominant age classes in the 2017 Fish Creek run forecast are age 1.2 (78%) and age 1.3 (11%).  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 2,485,000 1,000,000–1,300,000
Kasilof River b,d 866,000 160,000–340,000
Susitna River 329,000
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 211,000 15,000–45,000e
Unmonitored Systems f 665,000 N/A
Total 4,556,000

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

b  Kenai and Kasilof river escapement goals are now DIDSON-based.

c   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.

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)

The overall commercial common property harvest from Lower Cook Inlet is anticipated to be 817,000 salmon.

In the Southern District, the commercial set gillnet fishery is anticipated to open for the 2018 season at 6:00 AM on Friday, June 1. The first fishing period will be 24 hours in length. The following fishing periods will be 48 hours in length starting at 6:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays. The 5-year average harvest for this area and gear are 500 Chinook, 3,400 coho and 5,900 chum salmon. The 5-year commercial harvest average for the wild sockeye salmon is 32,700 fish. Last year in 2017, 11.9% of the sockeye salmon sampled from the commercial set gillnet fishery were hatchery produced as were 28.1% of the pink salmon. The department's preliminary pink salmon forecast estimated a harvestable surplus of 37,000 fish from the Southern District; which is to be shared by commercial set gillnet and purse seine permit holders.

Portions of the Southern District are anticipated to open to purse seine harvest in mid-June coinciding with hatchery enhanced sockeye salmon returns to Leisure and Hazel lakes. Historically, these runs peak from July 15–21 (week 29). CIAA anticipates a return of 39,500 sockeye salmon to Leisure and Hazel lakes combined, as well as 79,256 sockeye salmon to Tutka Bay. Last year in 2017, 50.3% of the sockeye sampled from the commercial common property purse seine fishery were hatchery produced as were 30.6% of the pink salmon sampled from this harvest.

Hatchery sockeye salmon runs to the Eastern District are forecasted by CIAA to be 199,700 fish. Of those, 52,500 may be available for commercial common property 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 index systems in Resurrection Bay and Day Harbor will be flown weather and time permitting.

Portions of the Outer District may open to commercial harvest in mid-July focusing on sockeye salmon runs to McCarty Fjord lakes. In addition, waters in the western portion of this district may be open by this time focusing on pink and chum salmon runs to Port Dick, as well as Windy and Rocky bays. The previous 5-year average harvest for this district is 5,100 sockeye and 83,800 chum salmon. The department forecast a harvestable surplus of 95,800 pink salmon from this district. The two most recent pink salmon even year harvests for this district in 2014 and 2016 were 163,938 and 5,369 fish.

Portions of the Kamishak Bay District typically open by regulation to commercial harvest on June 1. Chenik Lagoon is anticipated to open in mid-June and remain open throughout the season. Previous 5-year average harvests for this district (excluding the Kirschner Subdistrict) were 38,500 sockeye and 10,500 chum salmon with the majority of the sockeye salmon harvest attributed to Chenik Lake runs and the chum salmon harvest spread throughout the district.  Hatchery released sockeye salmon to the Kirschner Lake outfall remote release site are anticipated to be 44,600 fish all of which will likely be required for hatchery cost recovery.

Sockeye Salmon Natural stocks, (5-yr average commercial harvest)
Southern District, (purse seine, excluding hatchery SHAs) 31,400
Southern District, (set gillnet) 32,700
Eastern District, (Aialik Bay) 0
Outer District 5,100
Kamishak Bay District, (excluding Kirschner Lake Subdistrict) 38,500
Total anticipated harvest 226,500
Sockeye Salmon Hatchery Programs a
Hatchery return Broodstock harvest Cost recovery harvest Commercial common property harvest
Resurrection Bay 199,727 12,750 134,500 52,500
China Poot and Hazel lakes 39,483 1,000 18,200 20,300
Tutka Bay Lagoon 79,256 6,330 31,600 41,300
Kirschner Lake 44,600 1,500 43,100 0
Port Graham Bay 0 0 0 0
English Bay Lakes 4,650 0 0 4,700
Pink Salmon (ADF&G Preliminary Pink Salmon Forecastb)
Southern District (purse seine, excluding hatchery SHAs) 33,000
Southern District (set gillnet, excluding hatchery SHAs) 4,000
Eastern District 0
Outer District 95,800
Kamishak Bay District 7,200
Total anticipated harvest 186,700
Pink salmon hatchery programsa
Hatchery return Broodstock harvest Cost recovery harvest Commercial common property harvest
Tutka Bay Lagoon 1,735,853 300,000 1,402,000 33,900
Port Graham Bay 181,794 90,000 79,000 12,800
Chum Salmon - 5-year average harvest
Southern District (purse seine) 1,100
Southern District (set gillnet) 5,900
Eastern District 120
Outer District 83,800
Kamishak Bay District 10,500
Total anticipated harvest 101,400
Coho Salmon - 5-year average harvest
Southern District (purse seine) 700
Southern District (set gillnet) 3,400
Eastern District 0
Outer District 100
Kamishak Bay District 200
Total anticipated harvest 4,400
Chinook Salmon - 5-year average harvest
Southern District (purse seine) 100
Southern District (set gillnet) 500
Eastern District 0
Outer District 0
Kamishak Bay District 0
Total anticipated harvest 600
Total LCI anticipated commercial common property harvest- all salmon species
Total 519,600

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

b  Available online on our LCI Salmon webpage

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Kodiak

Kodiak

Kodiak management will manage the commercial salmon fisheries in the Kodiak Management Area (KMA) to promote maximum sustained yield for future KMA salmon returns by achieving salmon escapement goals and providing opportunity to harvest salmon in excess of those goals. ADF&G will attempt to provide for orderly fisheries while maximizing harvest opportunities on the highest quality salmon. ADF&G will adhere to the biological and allocative requirements of the management plans adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries for the KMA. Management of the fisheries follows a general chronology based on the run timing of 4 commercially targeted salmon species: sockeye salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, and chum salmon salmon.

The 2018 preseason forecasts project a harvest of approximately 2,609,500 sockeye, 400,200 coho, 8,700,000 pink, and 1,017,000 chum salmon. Additionally, about 8,000 Chinook salmon could be harvested incidentally in fisheries targeting other salmon species. All fishing periods are established by emergency order. The initial sockeye salmon commercial test fishing period for the west side of Kodiak Island is tentatively scheduled for June 9 but may occur as early as June 1. A June 9 fishery opening is also planned for the Duck Bay, Izhut Bay, Inner Kitoi Bay, Outer Kitoi Bay sections, and the Foul Bay and Waterfall Bay Special Harvest areas. The initial commercial test fishing period in the Alitak District will be determined based on inseason indicators of run strength. On July 6, the initial weekly fishing period targeting pink salmon will be 57 hours (2.5 days) in length for Kodiak Archipelago sections, and the Mainland District sections north of Cape Aklek fishing periods will be 57 hours (2.5 days) in length. For further details please see the Kodiak Commercial Salmon Harvest Strategy, 2018 (PDF 3,887 kB)

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

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula

The 2018 projected North Alaska Peninsula salmon harvest is 3,028,000 fish, comprised of 3,000 Chinook salmon, 2,800,000 sockeye salmon, 75,000 coho salmon, 25,000 pink salmon, and 125,000 chum salmon. The bulk of the salmon harvest is projected to occur in the Northern District between the Nelson Lagoon and Outer Port Heiden sections. The predominant gear types used in the North Alaska Peninsula are drift and set gillnets, though purse seine is a legal gear type in some areas. In 2018, salmon enumeration weirs on the Nelson, Bear, Sandy, and Ilnik rivers will be used to facilitate inseason escapement assessment and management. For further details please see the North Alaska Peninsula Salmon Management Plan, 2018 (PDF 2,672 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.

South Peninsula

The South Peninsula will not open to commercial salmon fishing this week. The first scheduled fishing period is set for 6:00 a.m. on Thursday June 7. This fishing period will be 88-hours in length, followed by a closure of 32-hours, and reopened at 6:00 a.m. two days later. This scheduled fishery has not changed from the previous seasons.

No salmon escapement information is available currently. No aerial surveys have been flown yet, which is normal for this time of year. No escapement information is available from the one weir on the South Peninsula, the Orzinski Lake weir. Typically, the weir is installed in the second week of June.

At this time not much information is known about level of participation for the commercial salmon fishing fleet for the South Peninsula. There is one management plan in the South Alaska Peninsula 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.

A preseason meeting was hosted by ADF&G staff on May 17th in Sand Point. This annual event was a chance for the fishermen, processors, members of the public, and other agencies to discuss the upcoming salmon fishing season in the South Alaska Peninsula with the ADF&G Management staff.  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

The 2018 Chignik Management Area preseason forecast projects an approximate total run estimate of 1,749,000 sockeye salmon. The total forecasted sockeye salmon harvest in the Chignik area is 834,000 fish. Beginning June 1. The first commercial fishing period may occur in the Chignik Bay District 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 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 and the need to conserve Chinook salmon. The summer chum salmon commercial fishery will be limited to 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 majority of the Chinook salmon run has passed.

2018 Run and Harvest Outlook for Yukon River Salmon

Chinook Summer Chum Fall Chum Coho
Projection: Below Average Above average Above 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 1.4 million available Up to 1.2 million available 60,000 to 200,000 potentially available

For more information please read the 2018 Yukon River Salmon Fisheries Outlook (PDF 227 kB).

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

 Salmon outlooks and harvest projections for the Norton Sound 2018 salmon season are based on qualitative assessments of parent-year escapements, sibling relationships, subjective determinations of 2 freshwater overwintering and ocean survival, and in the case of the commercial fishery, the projections of local market conditions. In last year's commercial fishery there was a record coho salmon harvest and the highest chum salmon harvest since 1983. The department expects similar coho and chum salmon run strengths in 2018, but the Chinook salmon run will likely be weak again and no commercial fishing targeting Chinook salmon is expected in Norton Sound. Additional subsistence restrictions for Chinook salmon are expected in southern Norton Sound. Sales of incidentally harvested Chinook salmon will not be allowed in Subdistricts 5 and 6 until late July or early August because of subsistence fishing restrictions starting in June. Elsewhere, incidentally caught Chinook salmon in commercial fisheries will be allowed to be sold. Chum salmon runs are expected to be above average and the harvest is expected to be 150,000 to 200,000 fish. The department expects the pink salmon run to be above average for an even-numbered year, but harvest will depend on buyer interest and could range from 25,000 to 75,000 fish. No pink salmon directed fishing periods would be expected because of buyer interest in more valuable salmon species and the pink salmon harvest would likely be an incidental harvest only. However, the department does have the authority to increase fishing net aggregate length from 100 fathoms to 200 fathoms if there were a pink salmon directed fishery. Also, in June, a seine fishery targeting pink and chum salmon in Subdistricts 5 and 6 could occur with the requirement that Chinook salmon be returned to the water unharmed and in that case the pink salmon harvest may exceed 200,000 pink salmon. The coho salmon run is expected to be well above average based on ocean survival conditions in recent years. The commercial harvest is expected to be 170,000 to 220,000 fish. In the Port Clarence District the department expects the commercial fishery to remain closed because of a lack of buyer interest despite the in-river goal of 30,000 sockeye salmon at Pilgrim River expected to be reached. Subsistence fishing closures in the Pilgrim River are not expected, but the department will limit sockeye salmon subsistence harvest to 25 fish initially and will increase or waive the limit if the run is similar to the last several years. For more information please see the 2018 Norton Sound Salmon Management Plan (PDF 393 kB).

Kotzebue

In Kotzebue the first opener is expected on July 10. The outlook for the 2018 season is based on the parent-year escapements and returning age classes observed in the commercial fishery and in the test fish samples from the Kobuk River last year. The commercial harvest is expected to fall within the range of 400,000 to 600,000 chum salmon, but there is the possibility of record harvest of nearly 700,00 chum salmon if market conditions can accept that level of harvest. Two major buyers are expected in July and a minor buyer has expressed interest in buying fish in August. For more information please see the 2018 Kotzebue Salmon Management Plan (PDF 161 kB)

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