Stock designation may cost fishing area

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Catch numbers for sockeye salmon from Hugh Smith Lake have fluctuated with fewer fish returning to spawn.

The decline has prompted the Alaska Board of Fisheries to designate the stock as a ''management stock of concern.''

As a result, the board has adopted a plan to address the situation with a combination of research and, if needed, restrictions on commercial net fisheries when sockeye returns are below target levels.

The decisions were made in February during the board's meeting in Ketchikan.

State fisheries officials say the fishing restrictions can be used this season, if necessary, but the hope is that enough sockeye will be returning to Hugh Smith Lake to allow regular fishing opportunities.

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