It was a short first half to the Chinook season for Southeast troll fishermen.
On midnight of July 4, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game shut down commercial wild king salmon fishing in Southeast after three days of fishing. ADF&G won’t have catch numbers available for at least several weeks, but they project salmon fishermen in Southeast caught 63,000 salmon, close enough to the allowed 64,000 for ADF&G to close the fishery.
Last year, fishermen were allowed to retain 122,000 king salmon during the same fishing period. Combined with an expected fishing opening later this summer, this year’s management rules allow Southeast’s troll fleet to catch up to 90,000 fish in total.
About 27,000 remain to be caught in a second fishing period expected in late July or August, ADF&G’s Grant Hagerman said.
The Pacific Salmon Commission decides how many king salmon British Columbia, Washington, Alaska and Oregon can catch. ADF&G then splits this number up to different gear types and seasons.
The PCT has allowed Alaska’s commercial troll fleet to catch 154,880 “treaty kings” from Oct. 11 of last year until Sept. 30, 2017.
The number of fishermen working Southeast’s coastline for kings remained about the same as 2016 at about 750 permit holders, Hagerman said, though those numbers are still preliminary.