KENAI - The state Board of Fisheries has unanimously rejected a plea to allow commercial fishing for pink and chum salmon in Cook Inlet following this year's dismal sockeye run. The decision came at an emergency teleconference meeting Tuesday.
"They're worried about us harvesting a few cohos mixed in with these pinks," setnetter Jeff Beaudoin told a small crowd in Soldotna that listened to the board's deliberations by teleconference. "But it's a double standard."
The board had to decide whether the petition met criteria for an emergency, and if so, what action to take.
State biologists told the board they had few actual counts of pinks, chums or cohos, but available data suggest all three are returning in abundance. By Aug. 20, more than 1.2 million pinks had passed the Deshka River weir in the Susitna Valley, versus a season total of 542,000 in 1998. Given the number of pink salmon streams, they estimated the total run at 10 million to 15 million pinks.