The federal subsistence fishery for king salmon has been restricted, mirroring state restrictions issued Tuesday in response to low numbers of kings during the early run on the Kenai River.
Beginning today through July 14, anglers will be prohibited from subsistence fishing for king salmon using dipnet and rod and reel fisheries on the Kenai River.
While the federal subsistence fishery, located within the Kenai Wildlife Refuge is not heavily used — there have been no kings harvested in the fishery to date according to a Fish and Wildlife representative — the closure was warranted.
“It is a conservation concern right now and people could take advantage of (the fishery) if they chose if we leave it open,” he said.
Fewer than 1,100 kings have been counted in the early run on the Kenai and Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists said Tuesday projections show that less than half of the river’s escapement goal will return.
Jeffry Anderson, Cook Inlet Area inseason manager for Fish and Wildlife, said while the Kenai and Kasilof rivers do not typically have robust subsistence use, the Russian River has an active subsistence sockeye fishery for rural residents of Hope, Cooper Landing and Ninilchik.
For residents from those three areas who have a subsistence permit, the daily bag limit for rod and reel fishing is six sockeye and the dipnetting harvest limit is 25 sockeye per permit holder annually.
Anderson said those dipnetted sockeye in the subsistence fishery could not be taken in addition to the personal-use dipnet allowance in other parts of the state and anglers had to choose one or the other.
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.