The following press relase is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) today announced closures to 2019 Northern Cook Inlet (NCI) king salmon commercial and sports fisheries. Subsistence king salmon fisheries in Northern Cook Inlet will also be restricted.
The department is restricting and closing king salmon fisheries to conserve weak king salmon stocks. Multiple king salmon stocks in NCI, including seven stocks of concern, have failed to meet escapement goals in recent years.
“The department must make these closures and restrictions because of a recent pattern of extremely poor returns for king salmon stocks in the NCI area,” said ADF&G Acting Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang. “The outlook for this season is particularly worrisome with the Deshka River king salmon forecast well below the escapement goal.
“This system is the primary indicator stock used for management of the Susitna drainage. While the department realizes these closures and restrictions cause hardship, we want the public to know now what is happening well in advance of the 2019 season.”
“The department is mandated to manage Alaska’s fisheries for sustained yield. We must make conservation actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of these important king salmon stocks. We will also be actively monitoring runs so that we can make opportunity available if runs come in stronger than expected.”
Weirs on the Deshka and Little Susitna rivers, fishwheels, and aerial surveys will be used to gauge inseason run strength. Fishing opportunity may be restored where and when possible while ensuring escapement goals are achieved.
King salmon sport fisheries will be closed in 2019 throughout the Susitna River, Yentna River and Little Susitna River drainages. Commercial fishing will be closed in the Northern District of Upper Cook Inlet through June 24 to allow passage of king salmon through the district.
Subsistence king salmon fisheries in the Tyonek Subdistrict and Upper Yentna, which are each open three days a week by regulation, are being restricted to two days per week during the respective subsistence fishery seasons. This shares the burden of conservation across all user groups while recognizing a subsistence priority.
Emergency orders and announcements related to these closures can be found at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=Region.R2&Year=2019 and http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=cfnews.main
The Deshka forecast can be found at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=ByAreaSouthcentralNorthCookInlet.fishingInfo#outlook