Weak salmon runs
are forcing state and federal fishery managers to close down some subsistence
and commercial fishing activity around Kodiak Island.
of Monday, only 134 Chinook and 220 sockeye salmon had passed through the
Karluk River weir on the island’s west side. Jeff Wadle (Wad-LEE), area
management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says that’s
well below the desired escapement range for this time of year of between 1,635
and 3,316 Chinook. Based on the numbers Wadle (Wad-LEE) says department doesn’t
believe that its escapement goals for Chinook will be met this year, meaning no
subsistence harvest of kings will be allowed above the weir. And unless sockeye
escapement improves there won’t be a commercial fishery in the area either.
Closures 1 :13s “…of me since 1965, so.”)
to Kodiak city, the Buskin Lake sockeye run also appears to be weak. So far,
just a little over 1,000 reds have passed through the Buskin River weir. The
desired escapement for this time of year is between 4,203 and 6,830. Wadle
(Wad-LEE) says it’s not expected that the Buskin Lake lower escapement goal of
8,000 sockeye will be reached this season. That means all inside waters from Near
Island, south to the northern edge of Middle Bay will be closed to both
commercial and subsistence fishing through the beginning of August. Wadle
(Wad-LEE) says that’s pretty unusual.
Closures 2 :13s “…to subsistence before.”)
The department is
also putting restrictions on sport fishing around the island. Retention of king
and sockeye salmon on the Karluk, Ayakulik, and Buskin Rivers is not allowed.
Subsistence restrictions will be the first to be lifted if the runs improve.
That’s because the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act assures a
subsistence priority for rural residents. Wadle (Wad-LEE) says that would
happen fairly quickly once the department is comfortable enough to allow
subsistence fishing to re-open.
3 :06s “…within
basically 18 hours.”)
says there’s a possibility that the fish could just be late to arrive, which
happened last year, although not nearly to this extent. However, late runs seem
to be trend so far this season.
4 :20s “…it
could be weak also.”)
All of the
closures will take effect Thursday (tomorrow). Fish and game is working with
the Federal Subsistence Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor
the salmon runs.