Don’t mess with Alaska’s salmon                   season!


Today/Wednesday is the deadline for Alaska lawmakers to agree on a budget or go into a second, possibly month long,  extension. That means in two weeks pink slips could go out to all state workers in advance of job layoffs.

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“It’s kind of similar to what we had last year. The 15th of the month, which was yesterday, we’ve gotta have a plan. Pink slips go out on June 1, that’s the 30 days, and then we have to start getting people out because they cannot be on salary effective July 1.”

Scott Kelley is director of the commercial fisheries division at Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game headquarters in Juneau. He remains optimistic.

“At this point, the Division of Commercial Fisheries and I think Fish and Game in general,  we are under the assumption that we are going to  have a budget.”

The budget  also would also be pulled from other summer fisheries besides salmon, as well as stock surveys for Tanner crab and Prince William Sound and elsewhere.

We’ve got red king crab surveys in Southeast, a pot survey for black cod for Chatham Strait…

But it’s the impact on salmon season that has managers watching the calendar, and hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

Alaska’s salmon fisheries are tracked on a daily basis inseason to make sure enough fish can spawn in their home streams to sustain the resource.  If that can’t happen, the result could be lost harvests. Scott Kelley –

“The economy of the state would take an enormous hit if we had to pull stock assessment projects and because that is so obvious to everyone who lives here, that’s why I’m optimistic because it is just too big too ignore. And the legislators know that.”