Preseason Forecasts for Some SE Alaska Kings still not Enough for a Harvest

State fisheries biologists for Alaska say very low forecasts and recent poor runs of Chinook salmon returning to the Stikine and Taku rivers in Southeast Alaska do not provide for allowable catches on these transboundary rivers on either the United States or Canadian side of the border.

The 2020 preseason terminal run forecast for the Stikine River large Chinook salmon is 13,350 fish, which is below the lowest end of the escapement goal range of 14,000 to 28,000 fish.

For the Taku River, the preseason terminal run forecast for large kings is 12,400 fish, which is below that river’s lower end of the escapement goal range of 19,000 to 36,000 fish.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said all salmon fisheries in Districts 8 and 11 will follow extensive conservation measures through the duration of the 2020 Chinook runs.

Low as it is, this year’s numbers exceed the 2018 forecasts for these rivers, when biologists predicted 9,050 kings to spawn in the Taku and some 8,250 kings to do the same in the Stikine. Since the forecasts were below the low-end escapement goal range for those rivers, neither were deemed to have an allowable catch on either side of the border.

The record king salmon run for the Stikine occurred in 2006, with some 90,000 fish. For the Taku, the record run of nearly 115,000 kings occurred in 1997.