The Alaska Board of Fisheries defeated an emergency petition that would have resulted in more closures and restrictions on the Copper River salmon fishery. The decision taken during a special meeting of the fisheries board in Anchorage came just a day before the famed fishery begins.
Members of the Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Committee had proposed in their petition additional emergency action on the commercial fishery to assure a sustainable escapement goal for king salmon for the Copper River.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Commissioner Sam Cotten noted that the Copper River Fishery is a directed sockeye commercial fishery, with incidental harvest of other salmon.
ADF&G officials have said they do not expect this year’s king salmon run forecast and anticipated low level of Chinook harvests to affect the long-term sustainability of Copper River king stocks.
Cotten told the Board of Fisheries that the agency has the tools with the existing management plan and its emergency order authority to manage the king salmon stocks in the Copper River in 2017 to meet the sustainable escapement goal.