Copper River Still Closed to Commercial Salmon Fishing

The Copper River District on Alaska’s Prince William Sound remained closed to commercial fishing again this week, although open for subsistence fishing.

The only bright spot was the strength of the chum salmon run in the Coghill district, where the preliminary harvest estimate from a 36-hour opener on June 7 yielded 1,700 sockeyes and 48,200 chums, with 631 deliveries reported, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). The chums being caught in the Coghill district were averaging nine pounds.

Meanwhile, in western Alaska, commercial fishing with dip nets and beach seines was scheduled for a 12-hour opener from noon today through midnight and a 24-hour opener from noon on June 14 through noon on June 15.

Dip nets were required to assure escapement of king salmon to the Canadian border to comply with treaty obligations. Any Chinooks caught are required to be released immediately and recorded on fish tickets.

A directed commercial fishery for lingcod in Prince William Sound will open July 1 and will run through December 31 or earlier by emergency order. State fisheries officials reminds everyone that directed fishing for all groundfish species, including lingcod, is closed in waters within three nautical miles of two Steller sea lion rookeries within Prince William Sound, at Seal Rocks and Wooded Island.

In Norton Sound, the summer red king crab commercial fishery gets under way on June 24, with a guideline harvest level (GHL) of 290,282 pounds. Last year’s GHL for the Norton Sound fishery was 419,000 pounds.