The sport and commercial fishing divisions of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday issued emergency orders closing certain fisheries around the Kenai River due to continued low counts of king salmon.
Setnetting in the Kenai, Kasilof and East Forelands sections of the upper subdistrict will be closed until further notice while driftnetting within one mile of the Kenai Peninsula shoreline north of the Kenai River and one and a half miles from the shoreline south of the Kenai River will also be prohibited.
The Kenai River drainage will be closed for king fishing beginning Thursday through July 31 from the river mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge.
The department estimated about 40 percent of the run was complete by Tuesday. None of the indices the department uses to measure run strength show that the king salmon run will meet the minimum inseason management objective by the end of the run in early August.
The sport fishing department’s sonar measured the passage of 253 kings Sunday, bringing the total number of late run kings to 4,033. The current in season projections the department released show a maximum of 15,800 kings, which automatically triggers the closure of the sport fisheries in the Kenai River according to the department’s late-run king salmon management plan.
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org