Saturday, July 30, 2011

85 million and counting

The statewide commercial salmon harvest, all species, currently tallies about 85 million fish.

It's now up to the pink salmon whether we make the forecast of 203 million fish for the season.

Speaking of pinks, seiners in northern Southeast have scored record catches, while southern harvests are well below average, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports. Some 20 million pinks taken overall in Southeast so far.

In Kodiak, the pink salmon run is believed to be either weak or late, the department says. Only 1.3 million caught so far, well below expectations.

Elsewhere, in Upper Cook Inlet, fishermen of all descriptions have feasted on sockeye, with the total run headed for 9 million fish rather than the 6.4 million forecast.

But remember, this is Upper Cook Inlet, so anger and discontent abound, right along with the fish. Here's an entertaining cut from Fish and Game's weekly commercial salmon summary:

This past week a large protest was held in the parking lot of the ADF&G office in Soldotna. The protesters were mostly sportfishing guides who were unhappy about the no-bait restriction being implemented in the Kenai River by Sport Fish Division in response to a weak Chinook salmon run. These folks were specifically miffed by the fact that a mandatory restriction to the commercial set gillnet fishery was not in the management plan when the in-river fishery was restricted. The management plan only speaks to a commercial closure when the in-river sport fishery closes. A representative from the protest group met with department staff so they could have their issues heard. In response to the weak Chinook salmon run, the setnets on the east side of Cook Inlet have been fished much less aggressively than they ordinarily would have been in light of such a strong sockeye salmon run. The result will be that the escapement goal for sockeye salmon in the Kenai River will be exceeded, perhaps by a half-million fish or more.


Anonymous said...

Humpies are "either weak or late". A few are straggling into the rivers up here in the Norton Sound. Subsistence fishers have downgraded to drying humpies for dry fish because the Norton Sound Commercial Chum Salmon fishery is catching the premo dry fish salmon before they hit the rivers to spawn. It's an intercept fishery far worst than Area M ever was for the small rivers in the Norton Sound area.

Anonymous said...

For the Kenai River, part of the large escapements into the river came during the time in mid-July when the processors could not handle anymore fish after record harvest days for both drifters and set netters. Both groups were not allowed to fish by the department or were placed on harvest caps by processors during this time.

The weekly windows (mandatory set net closures) were offset this season by aggresive use of the expanded drift corridor in front of the Kenai and Kasilof, which worked to harvest sockeyes bound for these rivers.

Anonymous said...

ADF&G should be sued for announcing the astronomical salmon projections...where are those fish now boys??? what about accountability for lazy and poor prognosticating?