A year of poor survival and production for the chinook salmon has led the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to issue an emergency order closing the fishery to catch-and-keep. Both commercial and recreational anglers are no longer allowed to take chinook, or king, salmon from the waters of Southeast Alaska.
The decision was made based on information collected by the ADFG, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Chinook populations from Oregon to the Gulf of Alaska were studied, with poor production conditions noted throughout. The levels are the lowest in recorded history, and these dire circumstances are expected to continue through 2018—at least.
“The in-season data and stock-specific information cannot be ignored when conservation of wild stocks is the foundation of the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fisheries Policy and the Pacific Salmon Treaty,” ADFG Commissioner Samuel Cotten wrote in a press release. “Therefore, it is imperative that Alaska offer relief now for these stocks, with a focus on protecting future production.”
The decision to no longer allow catch-and-keep took effect this morning at 12:01 local time and will continue through September 30. Additional information will be collected during this time frame, with the ADFG then determining whether to continue the moratorium or allow anglers to again take chinook.