The limit for harvesting Alaska’s state fish is dropping by quite a bit this year.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) announced this week that the preseason Chinook salmon harvest limit in Southeast Alaska is 209,700 fish. This total is 146,000 fish lower than the preseason limit in 2016.
The Chinook Technical Committee determines the all-gear harvest limit for Southeast Alaska, basing it on the forecasted abundance of the Chinook salmon and on the provisions dictated by the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The treaty, ratified in 1985, looks to prevent over-fishing and ensure that both the United States and Canada get a fair amount of salmon each.
Regulations on king salmon — including Chinook salmon — are always strict, but are more so this year. Alaska residents can bag and possess two king salmon of 28 inches or more, while non-residents can only possess one salmon at a time. Non-residents can only harvest three king salmon in a year. This year’s regulations are in effect from April 12, 2017 to May 1, 2018.
Chinook salmon are the largest of any salmon, according to ADF&G, usually at about 36 inches long and 30 pounds. The Chinook salmon is the state fish of both Oregon and Alaska, as those states named it to that position in 1961 and 1962, respectively.