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 said in a press release he will not issue Federal Subsistence Fishing permits for the taking of Chinook salmon in the Situk River unless the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that the weir count of large, three ocean-age and older, chinook salmon will be within their biological escapement goal range and they reopen the State’s subsistence fishery for chinook salmon in the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet. The Alaska Board of Fish has set the biological escapement goal range between 450 and 1,050 large Chinook salmon in the Situk River and State biologists have forecasted a return of 826 large Chinook salmon to the river in 2014. Subsistence fishing for species other than chinook salmon in the Situk River continues to be permitted but the use of gillnets or bait. Fishing with rod and reel will not be permitted at this time. All chinook salmon incidentally caught must be immediately released back into the water with as little handling as possible.
The return of chinook salmon to the Situk River has been below goals in recent years. These permit restrictions are needed to provide for conservation of chinook salmon in the river. The prohibition of gillnet gear and the use of bait when fishing with rod and reel is necessary to minimize the incidental mortality of Chinook salmon when fishing for other species.
For more information on these permit restrictions, contact Lee Benson by phone 784-3359 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.