The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Tuesday it would take measures to help Anchor River king salmon stocks meet sustainable escapement goals this summer including closing the river to fishing for an additional day and moving a regulatory marker.
According to a Fish and Game press release, king salmon sustainable escapement goals on the river have not been met since 2008 and the expected abundance of the 2012 run is below the river's historical average despite recent management actions to limit king salmon harvest in the fishery. That escapement goal is between 3,800 and 10,000 fish.
According to Fish and Game data, 3,547 kings were counted on the Anchor River using weir technology during 2011's run. That number was 4,449 in 2010, 5,806 in 2008 and 9,622 in 2007.
"The recent poor king salmon runs and uncertainty over how quickly the run may rebound justify starting the 2012 season with a reduced amount of fishing time and area," Fish and Game wrote in the release. "These steps are being taken in advance of the season to reduce the need for more disruptive action during the season."
Sport fishing in the Anchor River will be open during five, three-day weekends (Saturday to Monday) during the year:
* May 19-21;
* May 26-28;
* June 2-4;
* June 9-11;
* June 16-18.
According to the release, the river will not open to sport fishing on Wednesdays, as stated in the 2012 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet. In addition, the fish and game regulatory marker will be relocated to about 1,000 feet downstream of the junction of the North and South forks beginning May 19 through July 31.
Fish and game wrote the steps will help conserve Anchor River kings and moving the marker down stream will protect king salmon that commonly hold in the "bridge hole."
The department's staff will continue monitoring Anchor River king escapement as the run develops to determine if addition management actions are necessary to achieve set escapement goals.