2019 Inseason Alaska Commercial Salmon Summary

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


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Southeast Alaska

Troll Fishery

The first Chinook salmon opening of the general summer troll season began on July 1 and was closed on short notice at 11:59 p.m., July 5. A total of approximately 58,130 Chinook salmon from 1,030 landings by 603 permits have been accounted for. The remaining annual troll treaty harvest limit of Chinook salmon will be harvested in a second opening following any closure of the coho salmon troll fishery, or no later than August 20 if a coho closure is not necessary. A news release announcing the length of a coho conservation closure, if needed, the harvest target, and the anticipated duration of the second summer Chinook salmon retention period will be issued no later than August 2.

Though very preliminary and incomplete, fish ticket reports indicate a total of 58,100 Chinook, 124,000 coho and 11,300 chum salmon have been landed since July 1, excluding harvest from the directed chum salmon fishery in Neets Bay/West Behm Canal. Average prices are $5.13/lb for Chinook, $1.57/lb for coho and $0.55/lb for chum salmon. Current average weights are 11.7 lbs for Chinook, 5.3 lbs for coho, and 7.1 lbs for chum salmon. Chinook salmon average weight is down from 2018 by 0.1 lbs and is above the 5-year average by 0.2 lbs, while coho salmon average weight is down from 2018 by 0.9 lbs and from the 5-year average by 0.3 lbs. Chum salmon average weight is down from both 2018 by 1.3 lbs and the 5-year average weight by 0.2 lbs.

The current regional power troll coho salmon catch rates for this week (statistical week 29), is 60/boat/day, with the highest catch rates in the Central Outside area, at 74/boat/day for the current week. Over the next few weeks, the Department will be making several coho salmon run strength assessments, the first of which is evaluating projected all-gear wild commercial catch and boundary area catch rates. Any conservation closures triggered as a result of these evaluations would be announced in a future news release.

A troll news release was issued on July 16 announcing the closure of the Neets Bay Terminal Harvest Area (THA) to troll gear until further notice. If summer run chum salmon broodstock needs are met at the Neets Bay facility, those waters may reopen by emergency order, and would be announced in a future news release.

The 2019 Summer Troll Fishery Management Plan (PDF 3,403 MB) is available online and in area offices.

Purse Seine Fishery

The 2019 total enhanced summer chum salmon run was expected to eclipse 17 million fish, but to date chum salmon returns have been much lower than expected throughout Southeast Alaska. The Hidden Falls Terminal Harvest Area (THA) has been closed since June 27 for broodstock concerns, the Southeast Cove THA has been closed since July 4 for cost recovery operations, and the Almalga Harbor Special Harvest Area (SHA) did not open on July 4 and may not open this season. The Neets Bay Kendrick Bay, Anita Bay, Thomas Bay, and Deep Inlet THAs remain open for common property fisheries. The common property purse seine chum salmon harvest in THAs is reported to be 55,000 fish to date.

The 2019 Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest forecast is predicted to be weak with a point estimate of 18 million fish. In southern Southeast, common property purse seine openings directed at harvesting pink salmon began June 30 in District 7 and July 7 in Districts 1 and 4. In northern Southeast, directed pink salmon openings began July 14 in District 13 and July 18 In District 12. The Point Gardner and Kingsmill test fisheries were last fished on July 16 and 17. The harvest of chum salmon from these test fisheries has continued to be higher than average and harvest of pink salmon increased but was still below average. Recent observations of pink salmon abundance indicated an increase in abundance. The next purse seine openings will occur on July 21.

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

Drift Gillnet Fishery

For more information please see the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB)

Tree Point/Section 1-B

The Section 1-B drift gillnet fishery was open four days starting on Sunday, July 14. In comparison to the 10-year average, harvest of all salmon species was below average. The effort level of 40 vessels was below the 10-year average of 48 vessels. The estimated weekly harvest was 30 Chinook salmon, 1,000 sockeye salmon, 200 coho salmon, 20,000 pink salmon, and 14,000 chum salmon. Next week (statistical week 30) marks the beginning of the District 1 Pink Salmon Management Plan. Under the plan, Section 1-B will open two days for each day the District 1 purse seine fishery is open. In statistical week 30 it is expected that the District 1 purse seine fishery will be open at least one day, therefore Section 1-B will start with two days fishing time, beginning at 12:01 p.m., Sunday, July 21. If the District 1 purse seine fishery is open for more than one day, the fishing time in Section 1-B will be extended accordingly.

For further details concerning this fishery, the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB) which is also available in area offices.

Stikine and Prince of Wales/Districts 6 and 8

The Districts 6 and 8 gillnet fisheries will be managed for sockeye salmon abundance through early August. Both districts opened for two days beginning Sunday, July 14. On the ground surveys indicated sockeye salmon abundance in both districts are well below the level needed to allow for additional fishing time. Overall, harvest of Chinook, sockeye, coho, and chum salmon were below the 10-year averages in both districts, while pink salmon harvests were above average in District 6 and below average in District 8.

The preseason forecast of Stikine River sockeye salmon is 90,000 fish, well below the average of 153,000 fish. This forecast includes: 66,000 Tahltan Lake and 24,000 mainstem sockeye salmon. The escapement objective for Tahltan bound fish is 18,000 fish and 30,000 fish for the mainstem component. Sockeye salmon fishery harvests have not met expectations in recent weeks, indicating a total run size below average. Historical run timing for the Tahltan portion of the run is past peak, while the mainstem component is near peak in District 8. Due to the expected return of Stikine mainstem sockeye salmon, conservative management actions will be in place during the next few weeks in District 8, including a district wide closure for at least the next two weeks. Additionally, the Board of Fisheries adopted the McDonald Lake Sockeye Salmon Action Plan. This plan limits gillnet fishing time to two days in District 6 for weeks 29 through 31.

For statistical week 30, District 6 will open for two days on July 21. District 8 will be closed.

Taku-Snettisham/Section 11-B

After reaching a likely crescendo in effort last week with approximately 95 boats fishing in District 11, this week's opener was lightly attended with approximately 70 boats fishing, just over half the recent 10-year average. This decline in effort is directly correlated with the lack of enhanced chum salmon abundance. The boats that remained this week appeared to be targeting sockeye salmon, resulting in above average catch rates. The fleet's transition in focus was quite evident when a 24-hour extension was announced in the southern portion of the district with a minimum mesh size to allow for targeting of enhanced chum salmon, and more than half the boats headed into the harbor.

The Taku River sockeye salmon total run size projection allows for another three-day opener in Taku Inlet next week. Sockeye salmon catch rates in District 11 were above average for the four-day opening. Otolith sampling in Taku Inlet this week indicates that nearly 20% of the sockeye salmon harvested in the Inlet were of Port Snettisham Hatchery origin. The run progression of wild fish to Speel Lake will be monitored closely to assess the likelihood of an opportunity to target hatchery returns in the Speel Arm Special Harvest Area (SHA) later in the season.

District 11 will open for three days district-wide with the north line in Taku Inlet shifted to the river flats. The minimum mesh size restriction south of Circle Point will remain in effect to minimize harvest of Port Snettisham wild sockeye salmon while providing opportunity to target enhanced chum salmon returning to Limestone Inlet. The Limestone Inlet SHA will remain open to the inner markers to allow further opportunity to target returning chum salmon. Department staff will continue surveying the fishery and an extension could be announced via VHF radio as late as 10am on the day of the posted closure.

Lynn Canal/District 15

District 15 opened to commercial fishing on July 14. Section 15-A opened for two days south of the latitude of Eldred Rock Light and east of line from Eldred Rock Light. Section 15-C, the Postage Stamp area, was enlarged with waters opened east of Vanderbilt Reef Light and Little Island Light. Section 15-C initially opened for three days in the Postage Stamp area and four days in the Outside waters of the Boat Harbor THA. On the ground surveys indicated chum salmon catch per unit effort (CPUE) doubled from the previous week, and extra fish time was warranted. A 24-hour extension was given in the Boat Harbor THA and the Postage Stamp area.

Approximately 207 permit holders harvested 80 Chinook, 200,000 chum, 6,000 sockeye, 4,000 pink, and 15 coho salmon, all below the 10-year averages for this statistical week. Fishing effort was above the 10-year average. Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. (DIPAC) chum salmon harvest is still behind the historical harvest for this time.

The cumulative sockeye salmon escapement to the Chilkoot and Chilkat lakes are above average with 24,000 and 17,000 fish, respectively. The current Chilkoot Lake escapement projection is approximately 92,000 sockeye salmon, above the upper end of the escapement goal range of 38,000–86,000 fish. The Chilkat River fish wheel catch of 1,900 sockeye salmon is on track to be slightly above average, and the Chilkat Lake escapement is projecting 105,000 fish at this time, within the escapement goal range of 70,000–150,000 fish. Chilkat River Chinook salmon catches are tapering off in the fish wheels and drift gillnet projects, but total catch is still above the 10-year average.

More area and time will be given in Section 15-C next week (statistical week 30). The Postage Stamp will be enlarged substantially, and the Boat Harbor THA will open 7 days a week until further notice. Section 15-A will remain at two days, but more fishing area will be implemented.

Yakutat Area Set Gillnet Fishery

Starting on July 14, the Dangerous River, Manby Outside Waters, Manby Inside Waters and remainder of the district opened for 2.5 days, and the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet and Yakutat Bay opened for 1.5 days. The Alsek River was also opened on July 14 for 24-hours and was extended another 24-hours based on catch per unit effort (CPUE). The East Alsek was opened on July 14 for 48-hours.

Manby Inside Waters were not fished during statistical week 29. Harvest for the other respective areas is as follows. In the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet, 25 permits harvested 2,769 sockeye salmon and 1,806 pink salmon, in Yakutat Bay 4 permits harvested 2 Chinook salmon, 538 sockeye salmon, 718 pink salmon and 1 coho salmon. The Alsek River had 8 permits harvest 2 Chinook salmon and 2,422 sockeye salmon. The Dangerous River and Manby Outside Waters were fished but harvest information is confidential. On the East Alsek River 3 permits harvested 1,036 sockeye salmon and 6 pink salmon. The fishing effort was average in all areas. The Chinook salmon and sockeye salmon harvest was below average for the Situk-Ahrnklin but this is due to the shorter fishing time.

Escapement monitoring at the Situk River weir for Chinook and sockeye salmon started on June 6. To date, 36,098 sockeye salmon, 319 large Chinook salmon, 273 medium-sized and 525 jack-sized Chinook salmon have been enumerated at the weir. The 10-year average cumulative count is approximately 58,157 sockeye salmon by the end of this statistical week. Escapement surveys were conducted on July 17 for East Alsek, Doame and Italio Rivers. There were approximately 17,500 sockeye salmon in the East Alsek, 620 sockeye salmon in the Doame and 830 sockeye salmon in the Italio River.

The Siuk-Ahrnklin Inlet and Yakutat Bay will have 1.5 days of fishing and the East Alsek River will have 2 days of fishing in statistical week 30. Dangerous River, Manby Outside, Manby Inside, Alsek River and the remainder of the district will have their normal openings. The Akwe River, and the Italio River systems will open by emergency order when adequate levels of escapement can be documented.

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 Nakat Inlet harvest through statistical week 29 is 30,000 chum salmon. This total includes 18,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear, 1,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear in the traditional fishery and 11,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

For further information please refer to the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB) and for updates on Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Neets Bay THA

The Neets Bay forecasted return is 1,911,400 summer chum, 345,100 fall chum, 16,200 Chinook, and 126,900 coho salmon. Neets Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by troll gear on Saturday June 15, and by rotational fishery between drift gillnet and purse seine on Monday, June 17.

The harvest of chum salmon through statistical week 29 is 12,000 salmon. In the traditional fishery 7,500 chum salmon were harvested by purse seine gear and 3,000 chum salmon were harvested by drift gillnet gear. Inside, 1,000 chum salmon were harvested by purse seine and 500 chum salmon were harvested by drift gillnet. The harvest of Chinook salmon in the Neets Bay THA through statistical week 29 is 6,000 salmon by purse seine gear and 3,000 salmon by drift gillnet gear.

For further information please refer to ADF&G news releases for Neets Bay and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Kendrick Bay THA

The forecasted return for Kendrick Bay is 1,031,700 summer chum salmon. Kendrick Bay opened to the harvest of salmon by purse seine gear on Saturday, June 15.

The Kendrick Bay THA harvest through statistical week 29 is 88,000 chum salmon. This total includes 45,000 chum salmon harvested by purse seine gear, 13,000 chum salmon harvested by drift gillnet gear in the traditional fishery and 30,000 chum salmon harvested in the THA.

For further information please refer to the 2019 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan (PDF 556 kB) and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Caroll Inlet THA

The forecasted return for Carroll Inlet is 8,000 Chinook salmon. The Carroll Inlet THA opened to the harvest of salmon by all gear groups on Saturday, June 1, and the rotational fishery between purse seine and drift gillnet opened on Thursday, June 13.

The harvest of Chinook salmon in the Carroll Inlet THA through statistical week 29 is 1,000 salmon by purse seine gear and 500 salmon by drift gillnet gear.

For further information please refer to ADF&G news releases for Carroll Inlet and for updates on SSRAA contributions visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Anita Bay THA

The 2019 Anita Bay THA forecast includes: 535,800 summer chum, 15,700 king, and 9,200 coho salmon. Anita Bay opened on June 1 to troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear concurrently. Troll fishing will remain open for the season. A rotational fishery began 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 gillnet harvest to date is 3,300 Chinook and 1,200 chum salmon.

For further information and updates on SSRAA contributions and updates visit the SSRAA website external site link.

Deep Inlet THA

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

Seine harvest through July 17 is 1,700 Chinook salmon and 98,500 chum salmon; gillnet harvest through July 17 is 3,400 Chinook salmon and 68,000 chum salmon.

Hidden Falls THA

Openings in the Hidden Falls THA occurred on June 16, 20, 23, and 27. Further openings will be dependent on inseason run strength. Forecasted runs for the Hidden Falls THA includes 1,603,000 chum, 167,000 coho, and 1,900 king salmon. The Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) needs 200,000 chum salmon for broodstock leaving 1,403,000 chum salmon available for common property harvest. 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.

The Hidden Falls THA will be closed until further notice to facilitate chum salmon broodstock collections.

Seine harvest through July 17 is 300 Chinook salmon and 13,000 chum salmon.

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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 24-hour fishing period on Monday, July 15 and Thursday, July 18. These were the eighteenth and nineteenth fishing periods of the 2019 season. The Coghill, Eshamy, and Montague district gillnet fisheries were open on Monday, July 15, and Thursday, July 18.

Escapement monitoring at the Miles Lake Sonar Station for sockeye and Chinook salmon returns to the Copper River started on Wednesday, May 8. To date, 947,765 salmon have been enumerated at the sonar site versus a minimum anticipated cumulative target of 542,544 salmon. The Coghill River weir was operational effective 12:45 pm Wednesday, June 19. This is the first year of resistance board weir operation at the site. Historically, a tripod picket weir was utilized and was prone to washing out during high water events. The new resistance board weir will adapt to changes in water level and will not be prone to damage during high water events. To date, 28,324 sockeye salmon have been passed at the Coghill River weir versus a minimum cumulative target of 17,245 fish.

Waters inside of the barrier islands from Steamboat through Softuk Channel were open during the fishing period on Monday, July15 and Thursday, July 18. The Coghill District drift gillnet participation is declining due to reduced grounds price for hatchery chum salmon that are rapidly declining in quality. Hatchery subdistricts and terminal areas in the Coghill District were open during the Monday July 15 and Thursday, July 18 fishing periods.

Preliminary harvest estimate from the 24-hour Copper River District period that occurred on Monday, July 15 was 23,300 sockeye salmon with 142 deliveries reported. This compares to a projected harvest of 24,600 sockeye salmon for this period. Harvest from the 24-hour Copper River District period that began on Thursday, July 18 is not yet available.

In the Coghill District, a total run of 1.99 million Wally Noerenberg Hatchery (WNH) chum salmon are projected to return to the hatchery. Historical harvest timing for these fish is from June 1 – July 27. A total of 443,000 Coghill Lake sockeye salmon are projected to be available for common property harvest. The harvest timing for these fish is from June 1 – August 1. Harvest from the 60-hour Coghill District fishing period that began on Monday, July 15 was 109,200 chum and 33,400 sockeye salmon with 433 deliveries reported.

For Eshamy District, a total of 1.37 million Main Bay Hatchery (MBH) sockeye salmon are anticipated to be available for common property harvest. The historical harvest timing for these fish is from June 1 – August 1. Harvest from the 36-hour Eshamy District fishing period that began on Monday, July 15 was 49,500 sockeye, 19,600 pink, and 11,900 chum salmon with 229 deliveries reported.

A total of 250,000 chum salmon are anticipated to return to Port Chalmers Subdistrict in the Montague District. The historical harvest timing for these fish is from June 1 – July 27. Harvest from the 84-hour Montague District period that began on Thursday, July 11 was 131,200 chum salmon with 159 deliveries reported. Harvest from the 60-hour Montague District period that began on Monday, July 15 was 69,900 chum salmon with 87 deliveries reported. Cumulative chum salmon harvest to-date is 1.51 million fish, close to five times the forecast, and an all-time high for this remote release fishery.

Water levels in the Copper River are above average for this date. Above average temperatures over the past couple of weeks and lack of precipitation have also delayed terminal run entry and reduced harvest efficiency.

Prince William Sound Purse Seine

In the Southwestern District the, the Armin. F. Koernig (AFK) Hatchery Terminal Harvest Area (THA) and Special Harvest Area (SHA) was open to commercial fishing on July 13, 15, and 18.

Waters of the Eastern District opened to commercial fishing on July 15 and July 18. Waters of the Northern, Northwestern and Southeastern Districts opened to commercial fishing on July 15.

Aerial surveys of the Eastern and Northern Districts were flown on Tuesday, July 16 and indicated that pink and chum salmon escapements are within expected ranges for the date, however wild stock run entry and harvest data currently indicate a below average wild stock return. The Department does not expect that these stocks will sustain more than one or two openers a week at this time. Aerial surveys of all districts are currently ongoing to further assess the strength of wild stock returns throughout Prince William Sound (PWS). Additional wild stock fishing opportunities will be dependent on aerial survey assessments and continued run entry of wild stocks.

An estimated 600,000 pink salmon were harvested in PWS on Thursday, July 18. The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest through July 18 is estimated at 6.9 million common property fishery (CPF) fish and 1.2 million Valdez Fishery Development Association (VFDA) cost recovery fish, for a total of 8.1 million fish. The 5-year odd-year average (2009–2017) cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest (cost recovery and CPF fish) through July 18 is 15.0 million fish.

Preliminary harvest estimates from the 14-hour period that started on Thursday, July 18 was 7,210 chum and 2,596 sockeye salmon with 13 deliveries reported. To date, 524,480 chum salmon have been harvested in the Southwestern District.

Like much of the state of Alaska, Prince William Sound has experienced a record heat wave. This abnormal weather pattern has dramatically increased water temperatures across PWS, with surface water temperatures approaching the mid-70's in many bays in eastern PWS. Aerial survey and harvest data have indicated that these abnormally high-water temperatures appear to have disrupted normal migration behavior and caused wild stock run entry to drop off.

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Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay

Fishing in the Togiak District was extended through the closure last week as there were capacity issues related to warm weather. Fishing is strong now and will be extended for the maximum 48 hours. Effort is likely at the peak now with 42 boats registered for the Togiak District. Harvest was close to 30,000 fish for July 16, bringing the season total to 300,000 fish, which is well ahead of expectations.

The Togiak Tower is operational and escapement is above expected levels with close to 40,000 fish passing through in the last two days.

In the Nushagak District, the Nushagak Section is open until further notice for set and drift, the Igushik Section is closed, and the Wood River is being opened for one to two tides a day depending on escapement.

Sockeye salmon escapement on the Wood and Nushagak Rivers is well ahead of schedule. Nushagak king salmon and Igushik sockeye salmon escapements are both below what is expected. Thermal barriers in the Igushik and Nushagak rivers have been resulting in slow escapementsand dying fish, however the thermal blocks may be weakening. Reports indicate thousands of dead fish in the Igushik River but escapement may surge with the cooler temperatures.

There are no boat counts for the Nushagak District with many boats pulling out to fish the eastside. Several processors have also ceased operation in the Nushagak District.

2019 now ranks second all time for harvest, surpassing the 2017 harvest of 12.3 million fish. Current harvest for this season is 14.4 million fish with 200,000 fish harvested on July 16.

Cumulative escapement in the Egegik District through July 17 is 2.1 million sockeye salmon and cumulative harvest is 13.2 million fish. Commercial fishing is currently open until July 29, and the fall schedule will take effect immediately after. Reports from the district suggest the volume of sockeye salmon may be declining.

In the Ugashik District, cumulative escapement through July 17 is 140,000 sockeye salmon. Escapement is below the levels needed for this point in the season. Cumulative harvest through July 17 is 325,000 fish. Fishing opportunity will not increase until test fish indices and escapement increase.

The Naknek River escapement at 2:00 p.m. July 18 was 104,000 fish for a cumulative of 2.6 million fish; the Alagnak River escapement at 2:00 p.m. July 18 was 30,000 fish for a cumulative of 428,000 fish. The Kvichak River escapement at 2:00 p.m. July 18 was 130,000 fish for a cumulative of 1,550,000 fish. The Kvichak in-river estimate based on an aerial survey is 450,000 fish. The Kvichak River escapement is projected to reach the escapement goal. Harvest on July 17 was 286,000 fish for a season total of 10.4 million fish. The Naknek River Special Harvest Area (NRSHA) will close at 8:30 p.m. July 18 and the Naknek-Kvichak District will open to drift and set gillnet gear at 3:00 a.m. July 19.

Inseason Harvest Information

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Cook Inlet:

Upper Cook Inlet (UCI)

There are several commercial fisheries underway in Upper Cook Inlet:

  1. Northern District Set Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays – 12-hour periods
  2. Western, Kustatan, and Kalgin Island Subdistrict Set Gillnet fisheries: Mondays and Thursdays – 12-hour periods
  3. Central District Drift Gillnet fishery: Mondays and Thursdays – 12-hour periods
  4. Upper Subdistrict Set Gillnet fishery (ESSN): Open by Emergency Order
    1. East Foreland section remains open Mondays and Thursdays

The total of approximately 202,234 sockeye salmon have passed into the Kasilof River through Thursday, July 18. Total escapement thus far in the Kasilof River falls just below the previous 10-year average of 216,000 fish. The Kenai River sockeye salmon passage estimate through July 18 is approximately 312,531 fish. The previous 10-year average through July 18 is approximately 429,079 fish. The offshore test fish boat (OTF) cumulative index is approximately 743 fish. The cumulative OTF index is far below the previous 10-year average of 1,344 fish through July 18.

Participation in all fisheries this season is about average.

The Upper Subdistrict includes the Kasilof, Kenai, and East Foreland Sections. Under paired restrictions with the Kenai River chinook salmon fishery, these sections were opened for two periods totaling 29 hours. Sockeye salmon harvest of 190,584 fish through July 15 ranks as the 18th lowest harvest total through July 15 in the last 20 years. Harvest from the July 18 opener was unavailable at the time of this report.

The drift gillnet fishery was open for two regular periods on July 15 and July 18 in Drift Gillnet Area 1 and in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof Sections of the Upper Subdistrict. A total harvest of 166,197 sockeye salmon is far below the 5 and 10-year average harvest. Additionally, catch per unit effort (CPUE) from the July 15 harvest was the 7th worst in the last 20 years. Harvest from the July 18 drift opener was unavailable at the time of this report.

The Western Subdistrict Set Gillnet Fishery was open July 15 and July 18 for a 12-hour regular period and from 6am to 10pm in the portion of the Western Subdistrict of the Central District south of the latitude of Redoubt Point. Total harvest for the season, excluding July 18 is 57 king and 25,400 sockeye salmon.

The Northern Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 18,239 sockeye salmon and 181 king salmon since its June 27 opener.

The Kalgin Island Subdistrict set gillnet fishery has harvested 22,754 sockeye salmon since June 27.

Upper Cook Inlet pink salmon returns fall on even years, however pink salmon have made strong returns to Upper Cook Inlet this season. The 2019 harvest of pink salmon currently ranks as the 2nd highest in recent 10-year harvest average.

On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, the Division of Sport Fish issued Emergency Order 2-KS-1-23-19 which states "The 2019 late-run of large Kenai River king salmon primarily originates from the two lowest brood year escapements on record which occurred consecutively during 2013 and 2014. Considering forecast variability (forecast has an 80% prediction interval of 14,972 to 27,267 large fish) and estimated exploitation rate in a restricted fishery of between 15 to 20%, beginning the fishery by prohibiting bait is necessary in order to achieve the sustainable escapement goal."

According to 5 AAC 21.359(e)(3)(A) Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, in order to achieve the SEG and provide reasonable harvest opportunity for the king salmon sport fishery, if the use of bait is prohibited in the sport fishery, commercial fishing periods in the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery, excluding the East Foreland Section, are open for no more than 48 hours per week, with a 36-hour continuous closure per week beginning between 7:00 p.m. Thursday and 7:00 a.m. Friday. With regularly scheduled fishing periods on Mondays and Thursdays no longer in effect in the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery, except for the East Foreland Section, any and all fishing time provided to set gillnets may occur only via Emergency Order beginning July 1, 2019.

In the Upper Subdistrict commercial set gillnet salmon fishery, except for the East Forelands section, gear reductions will be implemented through July 31, 2019, unless superseded by a subsequent emergency order. Under 5 AAC 21.359(e)(3)(A)(i) Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, 5 AAC 21.331 (d) Gill net specifications and operations, will be modified in 2019.

Legal set gillnet specifications for the Kenai and Kasilof sections are restricted to;

Up to four set gillnets that are each not more than 35 fathoms in length, 105 fathoms in aggregate length, and 29 meshes in depth, or two set gillnets that are each not more than 35 fathoms in length and 45 meshes in depth. Set gillnets that are not more than 29 meshes in depth must, be identified at the end of the gillnet with an attached blue buoy that is not less than nine and one-half inches in diameter. Set gillnet mesh size regulations do not change under these restrictions.

Lower Cook Inlet (LCI)

Cost recovery of returning Trail Lakes Hatchery sockeye salmon from the Bear Lake release began on May 23 and has ended. Commercial harvest of remaining sockeye salmon returning to Resurrection Bay release sites began on Monday, June 24 and will conclude on July 19 at 10 PM. Commercial set gillnet harvest began in the Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet on Monday, June 3 with commercial purse seine opening for commercial common property harvest in Kamishak Bay having begun on June 1 and in portions of the Southern District on Monday, June 17. Portions of the Outer District are anticipated to open on July 15.

The English Bay weir was installed on June 6. This is six days later than the normal start date for this method of assessing run strength in this system. Passage from June 7 through July 16 was 17,206 sockeye salmon and is within the final sustainable escapement goal for this system (6,000–13,500 sockeye salmon). In recent years approximately 90% of the final escapement has been counted by July 19. Sockeye salmon returns elsewhere in Lower Cook inlet appear to be within or above expectations, although scant rainfall has resulted in fish not entering streams and holding in the marine environment (e.g. Delight Lake, Chenik Lake).

The first 48-hour commercial set gillnet fishing period in the Southern District began on Monday, June 3. Recent harvest from this fishery, last year's harvest, and the previous 5-year harvest averages are shown below (Table). Participation levels for Lower Cook Inlet commercial set gillnet and purse seine fisheries are anticipated to remain similar to recent years.

Table: Southern District set gillnet harvests: current year, last year, and previous 5-year average
Chinook Sockeye Pink Chum
Dates 2019 deliveries 5-yr avg 2018 2019 5-yr avg 2018 2019 5-yr avg 2018 2019 5-yr avg 2018 2019
6/3 – 6/5 9 46 6 33 1,289 101 675 0 0 0 33 1 15
6/6-6/8 9 30 7 21 1,158 177 601 13 0 0 33 1 16
6/10-6/12 9 39 10 22 1,417 190 826 0 0 0 85 9 13
6/13-6/15 9 55 14 27 1,289 377 796 2 0 0 207 30 10
6/17-6/19 10 45 16 24 1,219 367 1,335 0 0 1 161 63 48
6/20-6/22 9 38 27 20 1,782 507 1,421 60 2 7 274 182 78
6/24-6/26 10 45 10 29 1,480 667 1,557 34 9 170 258 220 172
6/276/29 10 38 23 29 1,954 998 1,452 118 50 301 321 308 238
7/1-7/3 10 30 16 16 1,834 1,548 1,871 569 205 415 451 296 143
7/4-7/6 12 24 13 10 2,181 1,711 1,558 855 698 255 471 478 255
7/8-7/10 17 26 9 14 2,935 907 1,644 1,352 896 691 546 329 267
7/11-7/13 14 24 17 9 2,424 1,577 2,014 1,944 2,424 766 555 518 554
Totals 440 168 254 20,962 9,127 15,750 4,947 4,284 2,606 3,395 2,435 1,809
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Kodiak

Kodiak

The Cape Alitak, Humpy-Deadman, Alitak Bay, Moser Bay, Olga Bay, and Dog Salmon Flats Sections of the Alitak District opened for 105 hours, targeting Frazer sockeye and pink salmon, beginning at noon Saturday, July 13.

The Outer Karluk Section of the Southwest Kodiak District, the Northwest Kodiak District (except the Kizhuyak Bay Section), the Afognak District (except the Duck Bay, Izhut Bay, Inner Kitoi Bay, and Outer Kitoi Bay Sections), the Northeast Kodiak District, the Eastside Kodiak District (except the Inner Ugak Bay Section and Pasagshak Bay) open to commercial salmon fishing for 105 hours beginning at noon Saturday, July 13 targeting pink and chum salmon.

The Mainland District (except the Wide Bay and Cape Igvak Sections), and the Outer Ayakulik and Halibut Bay Sections of the Southwest Afognak District opens to commercial salmon fishing for 57 hours at noon Saturday, July 13, targeting pink and chum salmon and Ayakulik early-run sockeye salmon.

Cost recovery fisheries began in Spiridon Bay Special Harvest Area in the Northwest Kodiak District on Wednesday, June 26, targeting Spiridon Lake sockeye salmon.

In the Southwest Kodiak District, the cumulative Karluk River sockeye salmon escapement through July 18 is 187,739 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. The cumulative Ayakulik River sockeye salmon escapement through July 18 is 177,231 fish, which is also within the desired escapement range for this date.

In the Alitak District, the cumulative Upper Station sockeye salmon escapement through July 18 is 50,044 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date. The cumulative Frazer sockeye salmon escapement through July18 is 135,329 fish, which is also within the desired escapement range for this date.

In the Afognak District, the cumulative Afognak Lake (Litnik) sockeye salmon escapement through July 18 is 23,885 fish, which is within the desired escapement range for this date.

In the Northeast Kodiak District, the cumulative Buskin Lake sockeye salmon escapement through July 18 is 10,222 fish, which is above the desired escapement range for this date.

In the Eastside Kodiak District, the Pasagshak River weir is operational but only 1,932 sockeye salmon have passed the weir. The cumulative Saltery River sockeye salmon escapement through July 18 is 3,313 fish.

There is currently little or no early information on sockeye salmon runs at Kaflia, Swikshak, Miam, Uganik, Little River, Malina, Long Lagoon, Thorsheim, Perenosa Bay, Pauls Bay, Akalura, Horse Marine, and other minor sockeye salmon systems.

It is anticipated that approximately 200 seiners and 165 set gillnetters will participate this season.

Sockeye salmon harvest through July 18 is 767,659 fish which is below average. Chum salmon harvest from the hatchery is below average. Approximately, 176,000 chum salmon have been harvested through July 18 which is below average for this date. The pink salmon harvest through July 18 is 3,956,346 fish which is well above average for this date.

The cumulative pink salmon harvest of 3,956,346 is the largest ever for this date.

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Alaska Peninsula

North Peninsula

The weekly fishing period in Nelson Lagoon is 3.5 days per week and extensions did occur this week (statistical week 29). A portion of the Bear River Section, and Three Hills Section opened this week, however an area around Bear River is closed to allow fish passage. The weekly fishing period in the Outer Port Heiden Section is 2.5 days per week. The weekly fishing period in the Ilnik Section is 2.5 days per week, and additional time was allowed this week.

Salmon are being counted on the Nelson, Bear, Sandy, and Ilnik rivers. The upper escapement goal of 60,000 sockeye salmon was exceeded on the Ilnik River. The weir was pulled on July 18 with a total of 74,000 sockeye salmon counted this season. The escapement goal of 34,000-74,000 sockeye salmon was exceeded on the Sandy River as well. Staff are continuing to record daily counts; a total 51,000 fish have passed the weir this season. The lower end of the interim escapement goal is being met on the Bear River without directed harvest, but overall the run is not strong. At Bear River 207,000 fish have passed the weir meeting the July 31 goal of 176,000-293,000 sockeye salmon. The Nelson River run is also tracking lower objectives and 83,000 sockeye salmon have passed the weir (goal of 97,000-219,000 fish).

The Nelson Lagoon commercial sockeye salmon harvests were approximately 3,000-3,500 sockeye salmon per day, which is lower than typical for this date, with between 20-25 permit holders participating. Surveys are being flown a couple times per week and show that fish are holding below the weir site. A survey on July 16 showed 11,500 sockeye salmon below the weir site at Nelson River, yet weir counts are not reflecting the pulses of fish that would be expected with the numbers of fish observed in the river. In the Outer Port Heiden Section, the best harvest of the season occurred on July 9 with approximately 67,000 sockeye salmon taken.

Overall catches have been decreasing but have increased in the last two days. Most sockeye salmon runs, except for the Ilnik River, appear to have later run timing this year, however runs are similar to last year when the fish were at least 7 days later than expected.

Aerial surveys are being conducted, and on July 10, a total of 82,000 sockeye salmon were observed in the Meshik River, which meets the escapement goal of 48,000 to 86,000 sockeye salmon. An aerial survey on Nelson (Sapsuk) River on July 16 showed 11,500 sockeye salmon. Fish have been holding in the river but have started to move slowly upriver past the weir over the last week. Surveys on Bear River do not show a large influx of fish yet, but daily counts have been remaining steady.

South Peninsula

Commercial salmon fishing occurred in the waters of the South Alaska Peninsula during two periods this week. The first commercial salmon fishing period began at 6 AM Sunday, July 14 for 36-hours and closed at 6 PM Monday, July 15. The second commercial salmon fishing period began at 6 AM Thursday, July 18 for 36-hours and will close at 6 PM Friday, July 19.

Aerial surveys did not indicate that there was any significant early escapement of pink salmon on the South Alaska Peninsula, despite the large pink salmon harvest. As of July 19, the total area escapement goals achieved for pink and chum salmon in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area are at approximately 5.8% and 2.1% respectively.

There is one salmon enumeration weir operated in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area, the Orzinski Weir. The Orzinski Weir was fish tight on June 12 and the total escapement as of July 18 is 3,375 sockeye salmon. The escapement level of sockeye at the Orzinski weir is weak for this time of year. The escapement goal range for Orzinski on July 23 is for 11,250 to 15,000 sockeye salmon.

Participation in the commercial salmon fishery has been slightly above average and the processing capacity has increased in the False Pass area.

There is one management plan in the South Alaska Peninsula Management Area that has allocative ties to another area. The Southeastern District Mainland Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 09.360) is based off the Chignik Management Area (Area L) harvest. Limited commercial salmon fishing has been allowed in Area L. The harvest information from Area L is confidential, however the harvested amount will not warrant a commercial salmon fishing period in the Southeastern District Mainland. The Chignik River sockeye salmon escapement is below average for the early run but meeting its escapement goals for the late run.

As of July 17, a total of 19,278 Chinook, 967,351 sockeye, 139,724 coho, 10,324,271 pink, and 771,337 chum salmon have been harvested in the South Alaska Peninsula of Area M.

The Chinook salmon harvest is above both the 10-year average of 10,762 fish and the 5-year average of 16,738 fish. The sockeye salmon harvest is well below both the 10-year average of 1,598,026 fish and the 5-year average of 1,629,579 fish. The coho salmon harvest is well above both the 10-year average of 67,023 fish and the 5-year average of 85,756 fish.

Pink salmon harvest is extremely above average for this time of year compared to the 10-year average of 1,216,824 fish and the 5-year average of 1,388,396 fish. In 2016, 2.59 million pink salmon were harvested in the South Peninsula fishery by this date and that was the highest pink salmon harvest on record. Although pink salmon harvest was surprisingly high earlier this season, the harvest rate has dropped in recent weeks.

The chum salmon harvest is above the 10-year average of 537,425 fish and the 5-year average of 536,002 fish.

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Chignik

Chignik

The Eastern, Western, and Perryville districts and Kujulik Bay of the Central district opened to commercial salmon fishing for 48 hours on July 16. The fishing period was extended for 36 hours to noon July 19.

As of noon, July 18, approximately 424,758 sockeye salmon have passed through the Chignik River weir. The early sockeye salmon run is estimated at 299,568 fish and the late sockeye salmon run is estimated at 125,190 fish. The early run is well below the escapement objectives of 350,000-440,000 fish expected for July 20. Average escapement for the total run for the last 10-year period on July 18 is approximately 494,000 sockeye salmon.

Aerial surveys of the Western, Perryville, Central and Eastern districts have been conducted within the past week. Pink and chum salmon are beginning to show in some local streams although it is still early in the run timing to assess their strength.

Participation in the commercial fishery is low. Due to the weak early sockeye salmon run, several permit holders have opted to participate in other salmon fisheries this year. Due to the limited number of processors in the Chignik Management Area (CMA) all harvest information is confidential.

From June 1 until July 25th sockeye salmon harvested in the areas adjacent to the CMA are considered bound for Chignik. There have been no fishing periods scheduled in the Cape Igvak Section of Area K (Kodiak), or in the Southeastern District Mainland (SEDM) of Area M (Alaska Peninsula).

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

For News Releases detailing the specific information related to the fishery visit the News Releases webpage.

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Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim

Yukon River

As of July 17, over 1.3 million summer chum salmon have been counted at the sonar project near Pilot Station. The Lower Yukon summer-chum salmon directed commercial fishery began July 3 in District 1, and July 5 in District 2 with 6-inch or smaller mesh gillnets.

As of July 17, over 210,000 Chinook salmon have passed the Pilot Station sonar, which is near the upper end of the preseason forecast. After consideration of the data and discussion with the U.S. section of the Yukon River Panel, the Department will allow the sale of incidentally caught Chinook salmon during Lower Yukon commercial openings for chum salmon as of July 9. This is in accordance with the Yukon River King Salmon Management Plan and the management strategy presented and discussed with fishermen at preseason planning meetings.

From July 12 to July 15, four commercial periods in District 1 occurred with a preliminary harvest of 90,084 summer chum salmon and 3,404 pink salmon. During these openings, fishermen sold 1,085 Chinook salmon.

From July 11 to July 15, five commercial periods occurred in District 2 with a preliminary harvest of 28,680 summer chum salmon and 230 pink salmon. During these openings, fishermen sold 602 Chinook salmon.

The Lower Yukon summer season commercial fishery ended on July 17, with a preliminary total harvest of 224,916 summer chum, 10,967 pink, and 2,570 Chinook salmon. A preliminary total of 870 Chinook salmon were retained for subsistence.

The Lower Yukon River transitioned to fall season management starting July 16. The 2019 fall chum salmon preseason projection, based on the relationship between summer chum to fall chum salmon run sizes, is 625,000 fall chum salmon with a range of 500,000 to 750,000 fish. Run sizes within this range are expected to provide for escapement and subsistence use needs. In accordance with the Yukon River Drainage Fall Chum Salmon Management Plan, a threshold run size of 550,000 fish is necessary to open a fall chum salmon directed commercial fishery. Commercial fishing would be allowed on the surplus above that level. In the Lower Yukon, commercial fishermen may use six inch or smaller mesh size gillnets during the fall season. The first commercial period was scheduled for 9 hours on July 18 in District 1.

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

Kuskokwim River

As of June 26, the Kuskokwim River is open to subsistence fishing with 6” or less mesh gillnets and 25 fathoms in length, upstream of the Johnson River mouth and 50 fathoms in length below the Johnson River mouth, until further notice. Closed waters around the mouth of the Aniak River are in place, in addition to the all lower river spawning tributaries being closed to gillnets as well. These closed waters will be in place for the foreseeable future for Chinook conservation. Federal management within the boundaries of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge officially reverted back to state management on July 1.

As of July 18, weirs located within the Kuskokwim River drainage have been operating for approximately three weeks, so data are still preliminary. That said, the George River Chinook escapement goal (1,800 to 3,300 fish) has been achieved and will likely be exceeded in the coming days. Additionally, the Kwethluk River Chinook escapement goal (4,100 to 7,500 fish) and the Kogrukluk River Chinook escapement goal (4,800 to 8,800 fish) have been met. The sockeye salmon escapement goal at Kogrukluk River (4,400 to 17,000 fish) has been met. Chum salmon escapement at the Kogrukluk River weir is currently at approximately 10,500 fish, which is nearing the lower bound of that escapement goal (15,000 to 49,000 fish). It is still too early to draw conclusions regarding Coho salmon escapement goals at respective Kuskokwim River drainage weirs.

In the Kuskokwim Bay area, the Goodnews River weir has been operating since June 22. At this site, escapement goals for Chinook salmon (1,500 to 2,900 fish), sockeye salmon (18,000 to 40,000 fish), and chum salmon (>12,000 fish) have been exceeded. It is still too early to report any Coho salmon counts at this location.

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

Norton Sound

Chum salmon appear to be on track to meet the 10-year average harvest of 115,000 fish, but well below the forecast of 170,000 to 220,000 fish. Chum salmon prices dropped nearly 40% this year from $0.80/lb. to $0.50/lb. Chum salmon escapement is on track to reach or exceed all goals for all projects.

Although small at over 1,000 fish, incidental king salmon harvests will be the highest in 20 years with high escapement in southern Norton Sound.

Incidental sockeye salmon harvest, although also small, will be a near record or record reaching 4,000 fish or greater. Sockeye salmon escapement to Pilgrim River has been reached by the historical midpoint of the run.

Coho salmon runs appear to be timed as expecting. Overall catch is average, but well below last year's record catch.

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

Kotzebue

To date, chum salmon harvest in the Kotzebue District has been lower than the forecast of 450,000 to 650,000 fish. In the previous 57 years of the fishery there have been 8 years of catches greater than 400,000 chum salmon, and 4 of those years have occurred in the last 5 years. Price is lower than last year at $0.30/lb. compared to last year's price of $0.40/lb., but fishing effort has been nearly the same. This year's catch rate has been similar to 2016, which had a final catch of just over 400,000 chum salmon. The Kobuk River test fish project began operations Wednesday July 17.

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

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