Setnetters to miss final fishing period

Nets remain dry in the East Side Setnet fishery where fishermen learned Wednesday that the fishery will be closed for the last regularly scheduled fishing period of the season.

After nearly two weeks of waiting for late run Kenai River king salmon to enter the river in high enough numbers to ease restrictions, setnetters were told on Tuesday the river was 29 fish shy of meeting the lower end of the escapement goal.

During the commercial fishing report, updated Wednesday afternoon, Pat Shields, area management biologist in the commercial fishing division of Fish and Game, said while drift fishermen would be opened today, setnetters would remain closed for the remainder of their season.

For drift net fishermen, Thursday will be the last district-wide fishing period of the season.

The management plan on the Kenai River for late run king salmon technically ended July 31.

However, managers at Fish and Game chose not to reopen the setnet fishery in August unless king salmon numbers were projected to reach the minimum escapement goal.

At the time, Shields said fishing commercial setnet fishermen while the department was trying to conserve king salmon would not have been prudent.

 

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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