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Yukon Area Management Biologist
May 05, 2014
The Division of Sport Fish is closing the Yukon River Area (the U.S. portion of the Yukon River drainage excluding the Tanana River drainage) to sport fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m., Monday, May 12, 2014. All king salmon caught unintentionally in the Yukon River Area while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
The 2014 preseason forecast indicates that the Yukon River king salmon run in 2014 will be very weak, with no or very little harvestable surplus available. Along with king salmon stocks throughout Western Alaska, the Yukon River drainage is continuing a period of low productivity. In 5 of the past 7 years the interim management escapement goal for king salmon into Canada was not attained. In 2009 and 2011 the interim escapement goal was attained only as a result of very conservative management including reductions in subsistence fishing time in the mainstem Yukon River, no commercial fishery directed at king salmon, and sport fishery restrictions and closures. To conserve king salmon bound for Canada and to account for uncertainty in the preseason forecast, the Alaska Board of Fisheries modified the Yukon River King Salmon Management Plan in January 2013. With this modification the department shall not open any subsistence fishing periods in district 1 and 2 during the first pulse of the king salmon migration.
The 2014 preseason management strategy calls for the subsistence fishing for king salmon to close with the first arrival of king salmon in the coastal district. This closure will be implemented chronologically in each district with the upriver migration of king salmon. No directed commercial fishery for king salmon or sale of king salmon caught incidentally in other commercial fisheries will be permitted. King salmon incidentally captured in the commercial or subsistence fishery may not be retained. The anticipated low abundance of king salmon into the Yukon River, the recent failures to reach Canadian border passage goals and escapement targets in Alaska, and restrictions placed on the subsistence fishery, warrant a closure of sport fishing for king salmon in the Yukon River drainage. The Tanana River drainage is managed separately from the remainder of the Yukon River drainage and any management actions taken in the Tanana River sport fisheries will be announced in a separate news release.
For additional information contact John Burr, Yukon Area Management Biologist, 907-459-7220.