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Restrictions issued for commercial king fishery

Posted: April 24, 2013 - 9:07pm  |  Updated: April 25, 2013 - 7:36am

The first commercial fishing announcement of the season in the Upper Cook Inlet restricts commercial king salmon fishing in the Northern part of the inlet.

The setnet fishery, which has had an average of 53 permit holders during the last ten years, is comprised of fishermen on both the East and West sides of the Cook Inlet who will see their first fishing period closed in response to king salmon conservation concerns.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Pat Shields said six systems in the Northern District of the Upper Cook Inlet were considered stocks of concern and despite similar restrictions to the commercial king fishery in 2012 — including closures in the early commercial sockeye salmon fishery — a number of systems failed to meet king salmon goals.

Although harvest of early run king salmon in the commercial fishery has been low when compared to the rest of Cook Inlet — setnetters caught an average of 1,540 fish during the last four fishing seasons according to Fish and Game data — Shields said the fishery is still valuable.

“It’s the first king salmon fishery, our first commercial salmon fishery and the price that they get per pound for those king salmon is anywhere from two times to four times what they’ll get later on,” Shields said. “They can get $5 to $7 a pound ... it’s not a large number of people that participate but it’s an early season, important fishery for those folks and it’s unfortunate that we have to restrict, but it’s happening to everybody. It’s happening to the sport fishery also.”

The emergency order also closed a section of the Northern District known as the General Subdistrict, located from a point about three miles south of Tyonek up to the Susitna River.

Shields said the area was closed per the Northern District King Salmon Management Plan which specifies that if the Chuitna River is closed to sportfishing, the commercial king salmon fishery must close as well.

Setnet fishermen in the rest of the Northern District who participate in the fishery use one net and will be restricted from their normal 12-hour fishing periods — each Monday in June — to six-hour periods.

Shields said commercial fishermen were restricted similarly in 2012 during the early king salmon run.

Most commercial setnet fishermen in the Upper Cook Inlet are scheduled to begin fishing June 27, except for those in the Kenai and East Forelands section who are scheduled to begin fishing July 8, however managers in both the commercial and sportfishing divisions of Fish and Game have said they will manage conservatively during the upcoming fishing season to protect king salmon.

 

Rashah McChesney can be reached at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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KenaiKardinal88
517
Points
KenaiKardinal88 04/26/13 - 12:05 am
0
2
Finally, Some Good Decisions

These comm fishers ruined some good king fishing streams over the years. It's about time someone is paying attention to protecting our shared resources for the good of all Alaskans.

Saltydog
6
Points
Saltydog 04/26/13 - 06:57 am
1
0
May be right decision

The department of Fish and Game had to make this decision until they can figure out what is happening to the King Salmon statewide. Contrary to KK88's narrow minded view, it is not the local commercial fishing but a much larger failure in the ecosystem ocean-wide that is the basis of this problem!

vickiel
255
Points
vickiel 04/26/13 - 02:06 pm
1
0
king fishery

Let's not put all the blame on the commercial fishing people, or better yet let's include the IN RIVER COMMERCIAL people KK88 you must be a guide.

vickiel
255
Points
vickiel 04/26/13 - 02:06 pm
1
0
king fishery

Let's not put all the blame on the commercial fishing people, or better yet let's include the IN RIVER COMMERCIAL people KK88 you must be a guide.

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