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Federal Chinook fishery closed in Yakutat

Posted: June 1, 2012 - 6:14am

YAKUTAT — Yakutat District Ranger Lee Benson has announced that he is acting immediately to protect Chinook salmon in the Situk River, near Yakutat.

The District Ranger, as in-season manager, is closing the Federal Subsistence fishery for king salmon in the Situk River and prohibiting fishing with gillnet gear and use of bait when fishing with rod and reel.

The closure began on May 20 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on July 19. All Chinook salmon incidentally caught during this time must be immediately released back into the water with as little handling as possible.

Subsistence fishing for species other than Chinook salmon in the Situk River continues to be permitted.

The return of Chinook salmon to the Situk River has been poor in recent years. In 2010, Alaska Department of Fish and Game personnel counted only 167 large (three ocean-age and older) Chinook salmon through their weir on the Situk River. In 2011, the weir count was 240 large Chinook salmon. In 2012, the ADF&G projects an escapement of 500 large Chinook salmon into the Situk River. The Alaska Board of Fish has set the biological escapement goal range between 450 and 1,050 large Chinook. This closure is needed to minimize harvests of Situk Chinook salmon. Therefore, federal public waters in the Situk River will be closed to taking Chinook salmon to provide for conservation of Chinook salmon.

For more information, contact Lee Benson, 907-784-3359 or e-mail labenson@fs.fed.us.

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