A few updates from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
“Sockeye Salmon Limits for Russian/Upper Kenai River Area Return to Three Per Day, Six in Possession July 15″
The bag and possession limits for sockeye salmon at the Russian River/Kenai River fly-fishing-only area, downstream to Skilak Lake on the Upper Kenai River return to three per day, six in possession beginning 12:01 a.m.Saturday, July 15, 2017. These regulations are described on pages 57-59 of the 2017 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.
“Alagnak River Sockeye Salmon Sport Fishing Limits Increased”
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is increasing the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon, from five fish to ten fish, in all waters of the Alagnak River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 13, 2017. The bag and possession limit for other salmon, except king and sockeye salmon, remains at five fish, of which only three fish may be coho salmon. These limits are in combination with the more liberal limits for sockeye salmon.
The escapement of sockeye salmon into the Alagnak River has exceeded the escapement goal of 320,000 fish. Through 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 11, 2017, over one million sockeye salmon have been estimated passing the Alagnak River tower. Therefore, it is warranted to increase the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon in the Alagnak River sport fishery.
“Tanner Crab Board of Fishery Changes and Fishery Updates”
The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) adopted the following regulations that change the Cook Inlet Tanner Crab fisheries:
- The personal use fishery was repealed to reduce redundancy and complexity. As a result, the noncommercial Tanner crab fishery is now defined as sport or subsistence fisheries.
- The legal size of male Tanner crab was reduced from 5.5 inches to 4.5 inches based on new analyses of male size-at-maturity.
- A limited noncommercial fishery was established from October 1 through the end of February. During this fishery, gear is limited to one pot per person with a maximum of one pot per vessel, bag and possession is limited to three legal size male Tanner crab and a permit is required for each person who participates in the fisheries. The sport fishery permits are expected to be available online by September 1.
To open the Tanner crab noncommercial fishery earlier than October 1, 5 AAC 35.408 Registration Area H Tanner Crab Harvest Strategy, requires the department to conduct a trawl survey to determine abundance thresholds of legal size Tanner crab. Trawl surveys were last conducted in 2013 for Kachemak Bay and 2012 for Kamishak Bay. Survey results of legal male Tanner crab were below the thresholds needed to prosecute a noncommercial fishery July 15 through March 15 as described in regulation, so this fishery has remained closed consistent with the harvest strategy.
The harvest strategy also includes a provision to open a limited noncommercial fishery in the absence of a trawl survey. Since no trawl survey has been conducted in 2017, this fishery will be open October 1, 2017, through February 28, 2018, with the more conservative pot and bag limits described above.