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Author Topic: 2012 KUSKOKWIM RIVER SALMON OUTLOOK  (Read 1556 times)

mudbrook

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2012 KUSKOKWIM RIVER SALMON OUTLOOK
« on: March 09, 2012, 05:46:07 AM »
2012 Kuskokwim Area Salmon Fishery News Release #1

2012 Kuskokwim Area Salmon Outlook and Management Strategy

KUSKOKWIM RIVER
2012 KUSKOKWIM RIVER SALMON OUTLOOK


The 2012 Chinook salmon forecast is for a return of 197,000 fish (range 158,000 to 236,000).
Broad expectations are developed based on parent-year escapements and recent year trends for
sockeye, chum, and coho salmon abundance which is expected to be similar to 2011. Anticipated
available surpluses for commercial harvest will range from 0 to 3,000 Chinook; 10,000 to 30,000
sockeye; 100,000 to 200,000 chum; and 100,000 to 200,000 coho salmon. Markets and
processing capacity are expected to be similar to last year.

2012 KUSKOKWIM RIVER PRELIMANARY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
State and federal fishery management staff will continue to follow guidelines outlined in the
Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan 5 ACC 07.365, to the extent possible, to meet
escapement goals, provide for subsistence use, and allow commercial fishing on available
harvestable surpluses. A subsistence fishing schedule will not be in effect at the start of the 2012
season.

Preseason management actions similar to those enacted in 2011 will be taken and jointly
recommended by ADF&G and USFWS in an attempt to conserve and meet Chinook salmon
escapement goals. After public input, a separate news release in May will describe the final 2012
Chinook salmon management strategy. Additional inseason management actions may be
implemented in response to weaker than anticipated return to the Kuskokwim River drainage.

Subsistence Fishery
Subsistence fishing is anticipated to be open 7 days per week with the exception of closures 6
hours before, during, and 3 hours after each commercial fishing period, unless superseded by
Emergency Order. In District 1, when one subdistrict is open to commercial fishing,
subsistence fishing will be allowed in the majority of the other subdistrict. During closed periods,
2012 Kuskokwim Area Salmon Outlook March 8, 2012
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subsistence fishing for species other than salmon will be allowed with gillnets not exceeding 60
feet in length and a mesh size of 4 inches or less.
Subsistence hook and line fishing for any species of salmon will be allowed 7 days per week,
unless superseded by Emergency Order under 5AAC 01.295, Aniak River bag and possession
limits, from June 1 through August 31 when subsistence fishing with hook and line attached to a
rod or pole, in that portion of the Aniak River drainage upstream of Doestock Creek: The bag
and possession limit is as specified by species in 5AAC 71.010 except the bag and possession
limit for king salmon is two fish with no size or annual limit.

Commercial Fishery
District 1
As directed by the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan, a commercial fishery may be
prosecuted in June and July if salmon abundance is above the amounts necessary to meet
escapement goals and subsistence use. Processing capacity will limit commercial openings in
District 1 to alternating subdistrict openings. Commercial openings may be announced when no
large scale buyers are available to provide opportunity for permit holders operating as
catcher/sellers or catcher/processors. Contact the ADF&G office in Bethel for more information
about the catcher/seller or catcher/processor programs.
All commercial fishing periods will be limited to gillnets with 6-inch or smaller mesh size. As in
2011, there is the potential for opening the Lower Section of Subdistrict 1B for two additional
hours during commercial openings, dependent on salmon abundance and processor capacity.
Chinook salmon abundance, escapement and subsistence needs may limit commercial harvest of
chum and sockeye salmon in late June early July. A commercial fishery directed at coho salmon
is anticipated in late July and August.

Sport Fishery

Within the management plan, the sport fisheries for Chinook and chum salmon are to be
managed based on abundance. It is anticipated that preseason management actions on sport
fishing will be taken to conserve Chinook salmon.
Additional inseason restrictions may be implemented in response to weaker than anticipated
salmon runs in other Kuskokwim River tributaries as necessary. In the Kuskokwim River
drainage, the Chinook salmon sport fishing season will close by regulation on July 26.

Inseason Assessment and Research
Inseason indicators of salmon run strength include the Bethel Test Fishery, subsistence catch
reports, commercial catch statistics, aerial surveys, sonar, weirs, and additional tributary
escapement monitoring projects operated by an assortment of partnerships between State,
Federal, and Tribal organizations. Staff from Orutsararmiut Native Council will survey Bethel
Area subsistence fishermen to assess salmon run timing and abundance.

KUSKOKWIM BAY
2012 KUSKOKWIM BAY OUTLOOK

The Kuskokwim Bay has no formal forecast for salmon returns. Broad expectations are
developed based on parent-year escapements and recent year trends. It is expected that salmon
harvest in 2012 will be similar to 2011. Anticipated available surpluses for commercial harvest
are expected to range from 10,000 to 17,000 Chinook; 40,000 to 80,000 sockeye; 75,000 to
2012 Kuskokwim Area Salmon Outlook March 8, 2012
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150,000 chum; and 40,000 to 80,000 coho salmon. Harvest may be affected by salmon
abundance, participation, market conditions, and processor capacity.
2011 KUSKOKWIM BAY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Subsistence Fishery
Department staff will be in contact with Kuskokwim Bay subsistence fishermen to determine if
subsistence needs will be met. Subsistence fishing will be allowed 7 days per week prior to the
commercial salmon fishing season. Once the commercial fishing season begins, subsistence
fishery closures will be reduced by emergency order from 16 hours before, during, and 6 hours
after, to 8 hours before, during, and 4 hours after each commercial fishing period.

Commercial Fishery
District 4
The Department intends to meet with Quinhagak residents prior to the commercial fishing
season. The District 4 commercial fishery will be managed in accordance with the District 4
Salmon Management Plan 5 ACC 07.367. By regulation, the commercial salmon fishery is to
open prior to June 16. Commercial fishing periods are established by emergency order. The
department shall allow for at least one 12-hour period per week unless a serious conservation
problem develops. Additional commercial fishing periods may be announced if salmon
abundance warrants. District 4 will open under Chinook salmon directed management. Once the
sockeye salmon catch comprises more than 50% of the combined sockeye and Chinook salmon
commercial catch, the district will be managed based on sockeye salmon abundance. A coho
salmon management directed fishery is anticipated to occur late July through August given
adequate run strength. Due to late Chinook salmon run timing and low abundance in recent years
the first commercial period might be postponed.

District 5
The Department intends to meet with Goodnews Bay area residents prior to the commercial
fishing season. It is anticipated the District 5 commercial fishery will open during the last week
of June, given adequate Chinook salmon abundance. Commercial fishing periods are established
by emergency order and it is anticipated the Department will allow for a minimum of one 12-
hour period per week. Additional fishing periods may occur provided adequate abundance and
processor capacity.

Sport Fishery

Within the District 4 Salmon Management Plan, sport fisheries are managed based on abundance
and commercial fishery performance. If necessary, inseason restrictions will be implemented in
accordance with District 4 Salmon Management Plan. Sport fishing daily bag and possession
limits for Chinook salmon is 3 per day with only 2 over 28 inches. The Kuskokwim Bay
Chinook salmon sport-fishing season will close by regulation on July 26.

Inseason Assessment and Research

Inseason indicators of salmon run strength include weir escapement projects, verbal subsistence
catch reports, commercial catch statistics, and aerial escapement surveys. Weirs will be operated
on the Kanektok and the Middle Fork Goodnews rivers to monitor salmon escapements and
collect biological data. Kanektok River weir will cease operations in mid-August to address
operational concerns caused by high water events common in August and September.
2012 Kuskokwim Area Salmon Outlook March 8, 2012
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For more information contact:
ADF&G, Commercial Fisheries:
Chuck Brazil (907) 543-2709 (Bethel), or (907) 267-2303 (Anchorage)
Travis Elison (907) 543-2457 (Bethel), or (907) 267-2379 (Anchorage)
Chris Sheldon (907) 543-2433 (Bethel), or (907) 267-2166 (Anchorage)
Doug Bue (907) 543-2931 (Bethel)
ADF&G, Sport Fish Division:
John Chythlook (907) 543-1677 (Bethel), or (907) 459-7361 (Fairbanks)
USFWS, Yukon Delta Refuge:
Gene Peltola (907) 543-3151 (Bethel)
Robert Sundown (907) 543-1007 (Bethel)
Dan Gillikin (907) 543-1022 (Bethel)

 

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