Fish quick to get your daily limit of one, before midnight tonight!
New Release from ADFG:
ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
McKie Campbell, Commissioner
DIVISION OF COMMERCIAL FISHERIES
Denby Lloyd, Director
DIVISION OF SPORT FISH
Kelly Hepler, Director
Contact: Jeff Regnart, Barry Stratton
Anchorage (907) 267-2104/2219
July 23, 2006
For Immediate Release
FISHING CLOSURES TO PROTECT KENAI RIVER LATE-RUN
The Department remains concerned about meeting escapement goals for late-run Kenai River sockeye salmon. Accordingly, throughout upper Cook Inlet, the Department is taking additional efforts to eliminate the harvest of Kenai River sockeye salmon.
Commercial fishermen who harvest Kenai River sockeye salmon will not be allowed to fish during Monday’s regularly-scheduled period. Except for the Kasilof River Special Harvest Area, all areas in the Kenai, Kasilof, and East Forelands Sections will be closed to drift and set gillnetting on Monday, July 24. The Northern District set gillnet fishery remains closed to conserve Susitna River sockeye salmon.
In addition, beginning Tuesday, July 25, at 12:01 a.m., sport anglers may not retain or possess sockeye salmon in the entire Kenai River drainage, except for the Russian River / Kenai River fly-fishing-only area. Anglers must release immediately any sockeye salmon caught while fishing for other species. Personal Use and educational fisheries that harvest Kenai River sockeye salmon will remain closed.
The Kenai River Late Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan directs the Department to achieve an in-river sonar estimate of 650,000 to 850,000 Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon, as well as an Optimal Escapement Goal of 500,000 – 1,000,000 spawning sockeye salmon. Through Saturday, July 22, the number of late-run sockeye estimated to have passed the sonar is about 144,000 fish. Without the fishery closures the Department has put in
place, present escapement rates, coupled with the run strength assessment, indicate we do not have sufficient numbers of sockeye salmon reaching the Kenai River to provide for the spawning escapement.
The Department will continue to monitor the run with all tools available in upper Cook Inlet, including, but not limited to, sonar projects, test fishing, and harvest monitoring. Information from these projects helps guide the Department’s management actions on Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon. In general, sockeye salmon stocks throughout Alaska have been returning later
than normal and the Department hopes that the Kenai River sockeye salmon run is also late, rather than as weak as it currently looks. If the run strength unexpectedly and significantly increases, management options may include the lifting of certain restrictions in both commercial and sport fisheries.
For more information, contact: Jeff Regnart or Barry Stratton in the Anchorage office of ADF&G: (907) 267-2104/2219.