Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area Management Biologist
April 29, 2014
The Division of Sport Fish is closing the entire Kuskokwim River drainage and Kuskokwim Bay tributaries to sport fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, May 1, 2014. All king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the entire Kuskokwim–Goodnews Area. These restrictions will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 25, 2014.
King salmon stocks throughout western Alaska are experiencing a period of low productivity and, since 2010, below average run strength. Most king salmon stocks assessed in the Kuskokwim River drainage have not achieved associated sustainable escapement goals (SEG) in recent years. In 2013, the Kuskokwim River experienced an estimated total run of approximately 94,000 fish and a spawning escapement of approximately 47,500 fish, which is the lowest on record. This low abundance trend is expected to continue during the 2014 season. The 2014 preseason forecast for the Kuskokwim River king salmon run is similar in size to the 2013 run. Restrictions to the Kuskokwim River subsistence king salmon fishery are expected in 2014.
In 2013, king salmon escapements in the Kanektok and Goodnews River, the primary Kuskokwim Bay stocks, were below average and also failed to achieve established escapement goals. Restrictions to the Kuskokwim Bay commercial fisheries are planned in 2014. These actions will be implemented in conjunction with actions in the sport fishery; all are necessary to ensure king salmon escapement goals are met.
The projected poor king salmon runs and recent failures to meet escapement goals in the Kuskokwim–Goodnews Area warrant closing the entire Kuskokwim–Goodnews Area to sport fishing for king salmon and prohibiting the use of bait and multiple hooks. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that a majority of the king salmon escapement goals in the Kuskokwim River tributaries will be met, restrictions may be relaxed.
For additional information contact John Chythlook, Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area Management Biologist, 907-459-7361.