April 12, 2016

Trolling for king salmon Credit:  ADF&G

Trolling for king salmon
Credit: ADF&G

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that under Chinook salmon management provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (treaty), the 2016 abundance index (AI) for Southeast Alaska has been calculated to be 2.06, which results in an all-gear harvest limit of 355,600 treaty Chinook (non-Alaska hatchery-produced Chinook).

The preseason troll treaty harvest allocation for 2016 is 263,197 Chinook.

The all-gear Chinook salmon quota is allocated among commercial and sport fisheries according to management plans established in regulation by the Alaska Board of Fisheries [5 AAC 29.060(b) and 47. 055]. Most Chinook salmon produced from Alaska hatcheries are not factored into the AI and may be harvested in addition to the treaty limit.

The allocations to fisheries for 2016 under the regulatory management plan are as follows:

2016 Treaty Chinook Salmon Allocations

Number of Chinook Salmon — All-gear treaty quota 355,600

Purse seine (4.3% of all-gear)                         15,291 Chinook salmon

Drift gillnet (2.9% of all-gear)                        10,312 salmon

Set gillnet (1,000)                                            1,000 salmon

Total net gear allocation                                  26,603

Troll (80% after net gear subtracted)              263,197

Sport (20% after net gear subtracted)             65,799

The summer commercial troll quota is calculated by subtracting the treaty Chinook salmon harvested in the winter and spring troll fisheries from the annual troll treaty allocation. The winter fishery is managed to not exceed the guideline harvest level of 45,000 treaty Chinook.

While there is no ceiling on the number of Chinook salmon harvested in the spring fisheries, the take of treaty Chinook salmon is limited according to guideline percentages of the Alaskan hatchery fish taken in each fishery. Spring fisheries are managed to limit the harvest of treaty Chinook, as Non-Alaska hatchery fish are counted towards the annual treaty harvest limit of Chinook salmon, while most of the Alaska hatchery fish are not.

Since spring fisheries will be in progress through June 30, preliminary harvest estimates for treaty Chinook in the spring fisheries will not be determined until late June. The summer fishery will be managed to harvest 70% of the remaining fish on the troll allocation in the first summer Chinook salmon opening in July, with the remainder available for harvest in a second opening, which typically takes place in August.

The decision as to whether the first summer opening will be managed inseason rather than for a fixed number of days will be announced just prior to the July 1 opening.

The annual all-gear harvest limit for Southeast Alaska is determined by the Pacific Salmon Commission. The harvest limit is based on the forecast of aggregate abundance of Pacific Coast Chinook salmon stocks originating from river systems in the area subject to management under the treaty, which stretches from Cape Suckling, Alaska to Cape Falcon, Oregon.

The actual returns of Chinook salmon to a number of river systems in 2015, especially to portions of the Columbia River, exceeded forecasted levels. Large Chinook returns are projected for those systems again in 2016 and are reflected in this year’s all-gear harvest allocation.#