News with fins #4
Recently the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that because of a low forecast for predicted king salmon this year, the commercial, sport and subsistence fisheries associated with the Chilkat River and Inlet near Haines, will all be restricted for a second year in a row.
The restrictions include closing “sport fishing from April 15th through July 15th‘, and the commercial fishery will be closed “through the second week of the season, which starts in mid-June’. Managers are hoping that they may be able to “allow a little more subsistence use’ over last year, in large part because for the first time since 2012 the kings were able to meet escapement goals for 2015. Subsistence use will most likely be raised first, and if escapement goals are met again this year, perhaps sport and commercial restrictions will be relaxed for 2017.
However, biologists are quick to point out that “like the rest of fisheries management, this is all in flux’, and that they will have a better idea for next year, once they get the fish wheels going, and can better assess “the run strength’.
Another important aspect to consider, according to one area biologist, is that due to recent cuts to the department’s budget there is simply not as much information available to make the most accurate predictions. Therefore, “the department has to err on the side of caution when it comes to management’, and take a conservative approach when setting limits and restrictions.
Rogers, Jillian. “Low Chilkat King Numbers Prompt Another Year of Harvest Restrictions”. KHNS, Haines. https://khns.org/low-chilkat-king-numbers-prompt-another-year-of-harvest-restrictions