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2015 Inseason Alaska Commercial Salmon Summary

This summary provides management, harvest, and escapement information for the Alaska commercial salmon fishing season. This summary will be updated each Friday between mid-May and September. Please note, inseason harvest data published in this summary are preliminary and subject to change. For more information on the Blue Sheet, inseason summaries, and harvest timing charts, please see our Blue Sheet, Inseason Summary, and Harvest Timing Charts Overview page.

Updated Friday, September 25, 2015

This will be the last Blue Sheet Summary update for the 2015 season.

Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery
Regional power troll coho salmon catch rates for the current week (week 39) are 52/day, which is just above the 20-year average of 49.  The highest catch rates for week 39 are in the Northern Inside area.  Through September 24, the seasonal average weight of coho is 5.9 lbs, which is right at the 5-year average, but below the 10-year and 2014 averages of 6.1 and 6.3 lbs, respectively.  The seasonal average price is currently $.093/lb, with a peak price of $1.20 during the week of August 30. The cumulative harvest for traditional troll coho since July 1 is just under 1.09 million.  In a news release issued September 15, the department announced the summer troll season would be extended through September 30, with some area restrictions.

In 2015, a total of 161 troll permits harvested 226,000 chum salmon returning to the Medvejie hatchery and Deep Inlet THA in the Sitka Sound area. The average weight for Sitka Sound chum was 7.1 lbs, with an average price of $0.55 per lb.

Trollers are still targeting fall chum salmon returning to the Neets Bay hatchery in West Behm Canal.  Though no reports are available for the current week, a report from September 15 indicated 8-10 vessels fishing the area, with an average catch of 40-50 chum per landing and an average weight of 7.1 lbs.  Fish tickets received to date indicate a harvest of approximately 153,000 chum since early July. Trollers had an average chum catch/landing of 125-150 for the summer run, at an average weight of 10.6 pounds and average price of $0.54.

The 2015–2016 winter troll fishery will open according to regulation at 12:01 a.m., October 11, 2015. The 2015–2016 Winter Troll Fishery Management Plan is available in all ADF&G area offices and on the troll fishery website.

The 2015 Summer Troll Management Plans can be found on the Southeast Summer Troll webpage. Inseason catch and effort data for summer is available on the same site.

Purse Seine Fishery
The SE Alaska purse seine fishery is now directed at harvesting fall chum salmon. During statistical week 37, fishing occurred in District 2 and Section 9-B on September 11. Harvest information is not available at this time.

Drift Gillnet Fishery
Traditional Southeast area drift gillnet fisheries occur in Districts 1, 6, 8, 11, and 15.

Tree Point/Section 1-B
The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery was open four days starting at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 20, 2015. The effort level of 20 boats was close to the 10-year average of 19 vessels. The total harvest was above average for chum salmon, and below average for coho salmon. Total estimate for weekly harvest is 5,000 coho and 5,000 chum salmon. The Tree Point drift gillnet fishery is currently being managed based on the strength of fall coho and chum salmon returns. The current harvest of chum salmon is strong and the harvest of coho is close to the 10-year average. The coho return to Hugh Smith is on target to meet escapement goals. Therefore the Tree Point gillnet fishery will finish the season with four days, beginning at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, September 27, 2015.

The following information about the Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, and Kendrick Bay terminal harvest areas (THA) is estimated through Statistical Week 39. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8
Management emphasis of the Districts 6 and 8 gillnet fishery for the 72-hour opening beginning September 20 was for wild coho salmon. Participation was below average with 30 boats fishing in District 6 and near average in District 8 with 27 boats fishing. Catch rates were above average in District 8 and below average in District 6. The harvest was composed of mostly hatchery fish, which indicates the run is past peak for the wild portion. Both districts will open for a 48-hour period beginning Sunday, September 27 and then will likely close for the season.

The most recent Stikine River sockeye run size estimate is 219,600 fish, above the 171,200 fish forecast. Final inseason estimates of Stikine River king salmon made on July 10 indicated a terminal run of 29,333 fish with an escapement of 22,500 fish, within the goal range of 14,000 to 28,000.  

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B
  District 11 was open for two days this week with nearly 20 boats fishing predominantly in Taku Inlet and around Point Bishop. Coho and chum salmon made up almost the entire harvest with only trace amounts of sockeye and pink salmon remaining. Average coho salmon size appears to have fallen slightly to nine pounds with enhanced fish making up significantly more of the harvest than wild fish.

The Taku River coho salmon run is nearly 90% through the Canyon Island area based on historical run timing and the most current run estimate took the first step up of the season, albeit minor. This inriver run estimate of approximately 62,000 fish would result in just making the lower bound of the newly defined escapement goal range once Canadian harvest is subtracted. So, although it is nice to see things heading back in the right direction, a significant late pulse of fish would be needed to get anywhere near the middle of the goal range. The tagging projects occurring inriver will only remain in place for one more week, much reducing the ability to quantify a later run.

The likelihood of a week 40 fishery was slim until the Taku River coho salmon run estimate actually improved and coded-wire tag recoveries revealed that more than 75% of the total coho salmon harvest this week was made up of enhanced DIPAC coho returning to release sites in Gastineau Channel. Section 11-B will open for a 24-hour period next week with a restriction in place closing the waters of Taku Inlet. This should allow some opportunity for the hardy few to harvest enhanced coho salmon while minimizing impacts on wild fish. Next week will very likely be the last opening of the season.  

Lynn Canal/District 15
The drift gillnet harvests in week 39 included 10 sockeye, 1,850 coho, and 3,400 chum salmon.  The harvest of all salmon species was below average for this week. The estimated 30 boats that participated in the fishery was fewer than the average. Fish wheel catches of chum and coho salmon are below average. However, the current cumulative lower Chilkat River fish wheel catch of about 2,400 fall chum salmon indexes to approximately 160,000 fish in the Chilkat River. This escapement is within the sustainable escapement goal range of 75,000 to 250,000 chum salmon. Coho salmon abundance is currently below average based on fish wheel and commercial catch, but final escapement is expected to be within the Biological escapement goal range of 30,000 to 70,000 coho. With escapement for chum salmon within the goal range and coho escapement projected to be within goal range, 2-days of fishing time will be granted in the District in all areas south of North Kochu Island in Chilkat Inlet and south of the Tank Farm Point in Chilkoot Inlet.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery
The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and the Tsiu River were the only areas fished this week in Yakutat.  All other fisheries in Yakutat, with the exception of the Italio River systems, were open this week, but not fished.  In the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 55 permits harvested 20,800 coho salmon.  The Tsiu River was fished by fewer than three permits, and harvest information is confidential.  The Tsiu River is currently open, but has only been fished for two out of the last seven days due to inclement weather.  The Italio River systems may open by emergency order when escapement counts have been observed. 

The biological escapement goal (BEG) for sockeye and pink salmon was obtained in the Situk River, while the BEG for Chinook salmon was not.  The BEG for both sockeye and Chinook salmon was obtained at the Klukshu River weir in Canada.  The coho salmon BEG has been attained in the Tsiu River  While it is possible that coho BEGs have been obtained in other systems in the Yakutat Area, inclement weather and flood events have prevented the actual observation of escapement levels. Indications are that the coho salmon return to the Yakutat area is about one week late.  The Yakutat Set Net Fishery will remain open through mid-October.  

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

 The following information about the Nakat Inlet, Neets Bay, and Kendrick Bay terminal harvest areas (THA) is estimated through Statistical Week 38. For further information and updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association  (SSRAA) contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

Nakat Inlet THA
The forecasted return of Nakat Inlet summer chum salmon was 220,000 and for fall chum salmon is 75,000. Nakat Inlet opened to the harvest of salmon by drift gillnet and troll gear on Monday, June 1, 2015. The current harvest for Nakat Inlet chum salmon is approximately 404,000, or 184% of the combined summer and fall forecast, for all gear groups. The total includes 48,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear and 131,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery in addition to the 225,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA. The fall chum harvest is approximately 129,000; with 4,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 95,000 harvested by drift gillnet gear and an additional 30,000 fall chum salmon harvested inside the THA.

Neets Bay THA
The Neets Bay forecasted return for summer chum salmon was 1,180,000 and for fall chum salmon is 210,000, for Chinook salmon is 21,500, and for coho salmon is 340,000. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by Drift Gillnet and Purse Seine on Friday, May 1, and closed on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 for the purpose of cost recovery. It reopened for rotational fisheries on Tuesday, August 4 and is currently closed again for collection of fall broodstock. The current harvest for Neets Bay salmon is approximately 2,042,000 chum salmon and 9,500 Chinook salmon. The total includes 290,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 195,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear and 125,000 chum salmon harvested by the troll fleet in the traditional fishery.  Inside the Neets Bay THA, 50,000 chum salmon were harvested by gillnet gear, 530,000 chum salmon were harvested by purse seine gear, and 105,000 chum salmon were harvested by troll gear inside the Neets Bay THA.  Additionally, 520,000 chum salmon have been harvested for cost-recovery and 227,000 secured for broodstock by SSRAA.  

Kendrick Bay THA
The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay summer chum salmon was 745,000. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Monday, June 15, 2015. The current harvest for Kendrick Bay chum salmon is approximately 1,020,000, or 137% of the forecast, for all gear groups. The total includes 665,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 110,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear and 5,000 harvested by troll gear in the traditional fishery in addition to the 245,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

Anita Bay THA
Anita Bay forecast includes 47,000 coho salmon for 2015 with a reported harvest of 162,000 chum, 9,500 king, and 2,000 coho salmon to date. For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website.

Deep Inlet THA
The Deep Inlet THA rotational fisheries began May 31.  Forecast returns for Deep Inlet THA and Medvejie Hatchery includes 1,336,000 chum salmon, 27,500 king salmon, and 18,000 coho salmon.  The Deep Inlet THA fisheries closed on September 22 to protect returning coho salmon needed for broodstock. It is unlikely the Deep Inlet THA fisheries will reopen this season. To date, 2,000,000 chum salmon, 7,000 king salmon and 7,000 coho salmon have been harvested in the Deep Inlet THA fisheries.

Hidden Falls THA
No cost recovery will occur at Hidden Falls this season. The first common property purse seine opening in the Hidden Falls THA occurred on June 21 with 15-hour openings expected to occur Sundays and Thursdays of each week during the early season.  Forecast returns for Hidden Falls THA includes 1,031,000 chum salmon, 5,400 king salmon, and 187,000 coho salmon.  The return of chum salmon came in well below expectations and on June 28, the Hidden Falls THA closed. On August 11-12 The Hidden Falls THA reopened. The THA opened again on August 15-16, and no harvest occurred. The Hidden Falls THA is now closed and will likely remain closed for the remainder of the season.  NSRAA needs approximately 180,000 chum salmon for broodstock. Seiners harvested approximately 35,000 chum salmon during common property openings.

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Prince William Sound (PWS)

Copper River and PWS Drift Gillnet
The Copper River District was opened to commercial fishing for 60-hour fishing periods on September 17 and 21. These were fishing periods 36 and 37 of the 2015 season. The next opening for the Copper River District is anticipated to occur on Thursday, September 24. The Coghill District opened to commercial drift gillnet harvest for 60-hour periods on September 17 and 21.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper started on May 8 and ended on July 28. A total of 1.35 million salmon were enumerated at the sonar site this year. Escapement monitoring at the Coghill River weir started on June 10 and ended on July 26. A total of 13,584 sockeye salmon were enumerated at the weir versus an sustainable escapement goal (SEG) lower bound of 20,000 fish. Eshamy River video weir counted approximately 3,821 sockeye salmon between July 11 and August 21 versus a minimum anticipated count of 8,719 fish.

Currently there are an estimated 20 drift gillnet permits participating in the Copper River District fishery. There are no drift gillnet boats fishing in the Coghill District fishery. Processing capacity and market demand have resulted in limited markets for gillnet caught salmon in western PWS.

Harvest levels and generally how it compares with recent 10-year or 5-year averages, or the most recent applicable average in the judgment of Area staff.

The Copper River District harvest estimate from the September 17 60-hour period and September 23 60-hour period was 2,760 and 2,170 coho salmon, respectively. The anticipated coho salmon harvest for the statistical week ending September 19 was 19,360 fish versus and actual harvest of 15,350 fish. To date, the cumulative Copper River District harvest is 1.56 million sockeye, 80,400 pink, 125,000 coho, and 22,800 Chinook salmon. The 5-year cumulative harvest averages for the September 17 and 23 harvest dates are 202,000 and 206,000 coho salmon, respectively.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine
The majority of Prince William Sound (PWS) has been opened to daily commercial purse seine fishing periods since Sunday, August 9. Starting Tuesday, September 8, there has also been daily commercial purse seine fishing opportunity targeting surplus Solomon Gulch Hatchery (SGH) coho salmon in Port Valdez. The 2015 commercial purse seine salmon fishing season will come to a close at 8:00 pm on Saturday, September 19.

Aerial surveys throughout PWS indicate that wild pink salmon returns are greater than anticipated; chum salmon escapements are within anticipated ranges.

Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) began its cost recovery sales program on Tuesday, June 30, and reached its cost recovery goal on July 24. VFDA began its pink salmon eggtake operations at SGH on July 27, and reached its final goal of 230 million eggs on August 22. VFDA reports that the coho salmon broodstock collection goal has been met at SGH.

Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) began its pink salmon cost recovery program on July 25, and reached its cost recovery goal on August 10. PWSAC began their pink salmon egg take operations at Wally Noerenberg Hatchery (WNH), Armin F. Koernig Hatchery (AFK), and Cannery Creek Hatchery (CCH) on August 24, August 25, and August 29, respectively. PWSAC achieved the egg collection goals at AFK, WNH, and CCH on September 6, September 10, and September 16, respectively.

There have been no purse seine deliveries reported in PWS since Saturday, August 29.

The preliminary cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest estimate through September 17 is 91.7 million CPF and 6.9 million cost recovery fish (VFDA and PWSAC), for a total of 98.6 million fish. This is the largest cumulative harvest total on record for PWS, exceeding the 2013 harvest of 92.6 million pink salmon.

This will be the final PWS purse seine fishery update for the 2015 season 9/18/2015.

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Bristol Bay

Nushagak
Fishing continuously but effort down to maybe one direct marketer. Escapement counting is done. A couple folks have expressed interest in direct marketing coho but so far there has only been one reported delivery. Fishing is essentially over for 2015. Harvest is 5.4  million sockeye salmon. Fishing is open but there is no market at this time. There is minimal interest in coho fishing. That is unlikely to change. This is the last report for the Nushagak District in 2015. The Bristol Bay season summary should be out by mid-September.

Last update for season August 21st.

Togiak
All sections followed regular weekly schedules this week. The last buyer stopped buying September 2nd.

No escapement information available for coho salmon.

Cumulative harvest is 354,000 sockeye salmon. A small effort has continued this week. Sockeye has effectively disappeared from catches while coho salmon catches have been strong for a second week, bringing the cumulative harvest to 24,000 coho salmon.

The total run will likely end up slightly below the preseason sockeye forecast of 610,000 fish.

Fishing is over for the year in Togiak, this is the last Bluesheet report for 2015.

Last update 9/5/2015

Egegik
In Egegik- through July 23-cumulative harvest is 8.2 million sockeye, cumulative escapement is 2.09 million sockeye and slightly above the escapement goal range. The commercial fishery is being managed to allow for the harvest of fish surplus to escapement needs. 

Last update for season July 24th.

Ugashik
In Ugashik- through July 23- cumulative harvest is 5.2 million sockeye, cumulative escapement is 1.3 million sockeye and within the escapement goal range. The commercial fishery is being managed to allow for harvest of fish surplus to escapement needs.

Last update for season July 24th.

Naknek-Kvichak
In the Naknek-Kvichak District, the last day of tower operations on the Naknek River was July 22. The final cumulative escapement was 1.92 million sockeye. The Kvichak River tower will operate through July 25. The cumulative escapement through July 23 was 7.23 million sockeye salmon. Escapements on both river systems are within their respective escapement goal ranges. Cumulative harvest was 15.7 million fish. Since July 17, both drift and set gillnet fishing has been open to continuous fishing and will remain so until 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 27 when the fall fishing schedule of 9:00 a.m. Mondays to 9:00 a.m. Fridays goes into effect.

Last update for season July 24th.

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)
Last update 9/4/2015

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)
The Lower Cook Inlet purse seine fleet has been on a regular schedule of commercial fishing periods in 3 of the 4 districts in this area since mid-July. Commercial seine harvest in Lower Cook Inlet will close for the 2015 fishing season on September 20. Commercial set gillnet has been on a schedule of Monday and Thursday 48-hour fishing periods since June 1 and will close September 30.

Escapement levels of sockeye salmon to systems in Lower Cook Inlet has been modest to fair with runs to the various system remaining in the lower end of  Sustainable Escapement Goals (SEG) in spite of minimal directed commercial fishing pressure on those stocks. Chum salmon escapement across lower Cook Inlet has generally been very good to excellent with directed harvests occurring at several locations. Pink salmon escapement has general been robust throughout much of Lower Cook Inlet.

Participation levels for lower Cook Inlet commercial set gillnet and purse seine fisheries have been similar to recent years with 24 set gillnet and 19 purse seine permit holders reporting commercial deliveries.

In general, harvest of salmon in Lower Cook Inlet areas was above previous 10-year average harvest , as shown in Table 1 below.


Table 1.- Preliminary 2015 Lower Cook Inlet Commercial common property salmon harvest and previous 10-year average.
  Chinook Sockeye Coho Pink Chum
  10-yr avg 2015 harvest 10-yr avg 2015 harvest 10-yr avg 2015 harvest 10-yr avg 2015 harvest 10-yr avg 2015 harvest
Southern Dist (purse seine) 42 52 30,878 54,783 610 984 31,944 141,389 486 1,448
Southern Dist (set gillnet) 254 752 24,275 35,883 1,168 3,083 3,774 27,554 2,087 11,498
Outer District 2   11,119 613 146 41 557,843 4,096,578 36,970 97,035
Eastern District 0   18,557 4,633     1,731 155 121 115
Kamishak Bay District 1   70,093   2,496   29,547 33,735 33,412 626
299 804 154,922 95,912 4,420 4,108 624,839 4,299,411 73,076 110,722

In addition, salmon hatcheries in Lower Cook Inlet harvested 163,000 sockeye and 2.3 million pink salmon for cost recovery and broodstock purposes.

Several hundred chum salmon have been observed in the Paint River system above the Paint River fish ladder. These are wild fish that swam up the fish ladder. Since the ladders construction in the early 1990s, pink and sockeye salmon juveniles have been released in the Paint River system above the ladder. However, adult returns from these releases never warranted opening the ladder to returning adults. Beginning in 2011, the ladder was opened seasonally to allow natural colonization by salmon from neighboring watersheds. Earlier this year 980,000 pink salmon fry collected in 2014 from neighboring Bruin River and incubated by Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association at the Tutka bay facility were released into the Paint River system. Next year (2016) approximately 10,000 pink salmon are anticipated to return to the Paint River system from this release.

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Kodiak

The Eastside Kodiak District and the Southeast Afognak Section of the Afognak District opened for 102-hours from noon Saturday, September 19 until 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 23.

The Inner Karluk, Outer Karluk, Sturgeon, Halibut Bay, and Outer Ayakulik sections of the Southwest Kodiak District, the Southwest Afognak, Izhut Bay, Duck Bay, and Outer Kitoi Bay sections of the Afognak District, and the Northwest Kodiak District remain open until further notice.

The cumulative Karluk River sockeye salmon escapement ended strong with approximately 609,000 fish, which was within the desired escapement range. Karluk River Chinook salmon escapement is below average and non-retention of Chinook salmon has been imposed on the commercial seine fleet.

The cumulative Ayakulik River sockeye salmon escapement ended strong with approximately 326,000 fish, which is within the desired escapement range.  Ayakulik River Chinook salmon escapement is below average.

In the Alitak District, the cumulative Upper Station sockeye salmon escapement ended weak with approximately 187,000 fish, which was within the desired escapement range.   Sockeye salmon escapement into Dog Salmon ended strong with over 236,000 fish, which was above the desired escarpment range.

Afognak River sockeye salmon runs finished above the desired escapement range with approximately 38,000 fish counted. 

Buskin River sockeye salmon escapement is tracking within the desired escapement range with 8,599 counted through the weir.

The Saltery Creek sockeye salmon run finished above the desired escapement range with 42,468 fish counted. 

Both purse seine and gillnet participation are normal for this date when compared to recent years.

Kodiak Management Area sockeye salmon harvests are near the recent 10 and 5-year averages with 2,959,549 fish harvested to date.  Pink salmon harvests are above average with 32,884,716 harvested to date.

There have been no significant developments.  

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula
The 2015 Northern District salmon fishery is complete. The major shore based buyer ceased purchasing fish on Monday, September 7.

Aerial surveys have been conducted for coho and it looks like escapements were good to excellent.  The coho salmon harvest in Nelson Lagoon is about average with 42,000 fish taken.

The total North Alaska Peninsula harvest is about 2.7 million sockeye salmon and the preseason forecast was 2.0 million harvested and has been exceeded.

The coho salmon runs seem to be about average. The peak daily sockeye salmon harvest occurred in the Bear River, Three Hills, and Outer Port Heiden sections combined with 155,000 sockeye salmon on July 8. About 898,000 sockeye salmon were harvested in the Outer Port Heiden Section.

Over the last week of fishing in the Nelson Lagoon Section the coho salmon catch has been steady. The largest post-July sockeye salmon harvest to date occurred in the Bear River, Three Hills, and Ilnik sections combined on August 24 when 25,000 fish were harvested. Daily harvests were good for this date when the fleet stopped fishing and a final aerial survey on September 6 on the Bear River indicated good numbers of fish still entering the river.

Last update 9/11/2015

South Peninsula
There is no update for South Peninsula at this time.

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Chignik

The Chignik Bay, Central, Eastern (excluding the Agripina Section), Western and Perryville districts have been opened to commercial salmon fishing since August 4 and will close at 11:59 p.m. September 14.

Through September 1, approximately 406,000 late-run sockeye salmon have escaped into the Chignik River weir which is within the late-run escapement goal of 250,000–400,000 fish.

The late run appears to be coming in later than normal.

Since August 21, escapement has been estimated using DIDSON and the Chignik weir has been dismantled for the season. September escapements will be available after post season analysis of the DIDSON counts.

Final aerial surveys for pink and chum salmon show that escapement is above the most recent 5 odd-year average for pink salmon while chum salmon appear to be similar to the most recent 5 year average.

The remaining processor in the area quit buying after August 20. At this time, no other buyer has expressed interest and therefore there has been no effort by the fleet since August 20.

Approximately 1,477,000 sockeye salmon have been harvested in the CMA this season. The Chignik Management Area sockeye harvest is similar to the most recent 10-year average.

Approximately 1.8 million pink salmon have been harvested in the CMA this season.

Last update 9/11/2015

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Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim

Yukon River
The fall chum salmon commercial fishery started in the lower Yukon River on July 20 and ended on August 31. There were twelve periods (4 to 9 hours each) in District 1 and twelve periods (4 to 6 hours each) in District 2 with gillnets restricted to 6-inch or smaller mesh size. The combined commercial harvest for both districts was 172,134 fall chum salmon and 115,764 coho salmon.

The coho salmon directed commercial fishery started in the lower Yukon River on September 1 and ended by regulation on September 10. There were two 6-hour commercial periods in Districts 1 and 2 with gillnets restricted to 6-inch or smaller mesh size. The combined commercial harvest for both districts was 2,642 fall chum salmon and 5,000 coho salmon.

In the upper Yukon River, the fall chum commercial fishery occurred in Subdistrict 5-B and 5-C between August 11-23 and started in District 6 on August 21. Fishermen may use fish wheels or set gillnets with 6-inch or smaller mesh size. In Subdistrict 5-B and 5-C, there were two 5-day fishing periods with a total commercial harvest of 1,048 fall chum salmon. In District 6, there have been eight 42-hour periods and the preliminary commercial harvest is 6,804 fall chum salmon and 3,878 coho salmon. District 6 will remain on a two 42-hour fishing period schedule until further notice or the season will end by regulation on October 1.

The summer chum salmon commercial fishery ended in the lower Yukon River on July 18. The combined District 1 and 2 harvest was 354,086 summer chum salmon; 9,513 Chinook salmon caught and released alive; and 3,240 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use.

The summer chum salmon commercial fishery in District 6 began on July 13 and ended on August 9 thereby ending the commercial fishery for summer chum salmon. The preliminary total harvest in District 6 is 4,770 summer chum salmon, 347 Chinook salmon released alive, and 83 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use. 

Kuskokwim River
Subdistrict W1-B, Kuskokwim River, opened to commercial salmon fishing August 21, 2015 for 8 hours from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the lower section and 6 hours from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the upper section.  There will be no more commercial salmon periods in subdistrict W1-B for the 2015 season.

District W-4, Quinhagak, opened to commercial salmon fishing August 21 and August 24, 2015 for 12 hours from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. There will be no more commercial salmon periods in District W-4 or district W-5 for the 2015 season.

Kuskokwim River escapements of Chinook salmon are improved compared to recent years with multiple escapement monitoring projects achieving established goals. Sockeye salmon escapements appear to average to above average. Chum salmon escapements are below average at all monitoring projects. Bethel Test Fishery indices have indicated that the coho salmon run is below average and is exhibiting late run timing.

Kanektok River weir escapements of Chinook salmon were above average, while sockeye, chum, and coho salmon escapements were below 5-year averages. The final day of operations was August 15, 2015.

Middle Fork Goodnews River weir escapements for Chinook, coho, and chum salmon are below average while escapement of sockeye salmon is above average. Further information on run strength and timing will become available in coming weeks with continued passage at escapement projects. Final day of operations for this project will be August 31, 2015.

Participation in subdistrict W-1B on August 17 was average with 206 permits registered making deliveries.

Participation in district W-4 salmon fishing periods was above average with 83 permits registered making deliveries on August 21 and 68 permits registered making deliveries on August 24.

Subdistrict W-1B preliminary harvest for August 21, 2015 was 2 Chinook, 25 sockeye, 48 chum, and 14,124 coho salmon. Harvest and catch rates for all species were average for this date.

District W-4 preliminary combined harvest for August 21 and August 24, 2015 was 15 Chinook, 75 sockeye, 296 chum, and 15,782 coho salmon. Districts W-4 harvest and catch rates for Chinook and coho salmon were above average for these dates. Harvest and catch rates for sockeye and chum salmon were average for these dates.

Last update 8/28/2015

Norton Sound
Greetings from a cloudy, wet Norton Sound. This is the final week of commercial salmon fishing in Norton Sound. Fishing has already wrapped up in the northern subdistricts 2, 3, and 4 and we are currently in the midst of the final period in Subdistricts 5 and 6 that will conclude 6:00 p.m. Friday evening, September 4. The Norton Sound silver salmon harvest shattered the previous record harvest set in 2006. Approximately 151,000 silvers have been caught by 115 permit holders. Record harvests also occurred in Norton Sound Subdistricts 4 (Norton Bay) and 6 (Unalakleet). Subdistricts 2, 3, and 5 had their 5th highest, 2nd highest, and 4th highest harvests on record. This will be the final report for the season. Exvessel value will fall short of last year’s record 1.9 million because of a significant drop in salmon prices but it will approach 1.8 million because of the strong coho salmon harvest. Escapement needs of coho salmon to the Nome Subdistrict are also now projected to be achieved and the need for restrictions or closures has been avoided. Have a great winter.

Last Update 9/5/2015

Kotzebue
The major buyer finished operations on Friday, August 21. A second buyer bought for one period on Sunday, August 23 and had fishermen gill and gut the salmon before buying.  That buyer has also finished operations. Harvest this year was 306,000 chum salmon and finished at the low end of the department forecast range of 300,000 to 500,000 chum salmon commercial harvest, but the harvest was the third highest in over 25 years and ranked twelfth highest in the 54-year history of the fishery. There were 103 permit holders that fished; the most since 1994. Ex-vessel value was approximately $825,000 and was a big drop from last year's 2.9 million. However, it was the fourth highest in 27 years without adjusting for inflation. Kobuk River test fish completed operations and chum catch index was fourth highest in the 23-year project history.

Last Update 9/4/2015

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