Effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 20, the sport fish daily bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon, in the upper Copper River drainage, is increased to 6 fish for the remainder of the season.
The sustainable escapement goal for sockeye salmon in the Copper River drainage is 360,000–750,000 fish. As of July 14, the Miles Lake sonar cumulative count was 862,165 salmon. Based on current sonar counts and projected counts for the remainder of the run, the 2019 sockeye salmon escapement is expected to exceed the upper bound of the sustainable escapement goal. As provided by 5 AAC 75.003 (2)(A), the department has emergency order authority to increase sport fish bag and possession limits when the total escapement is projected to exceed the escapement goal and the total harvest under the increased bag and possession limit will not reduce the escapement below the escapement goal. Therefore, an increase in the sockeye salmon bag and possession limit in the upper Copper River drainage is warranted to provide additional harvest opportunity.