Alaska state fisheries biologist have issued an update on the 2016 Prince William Sound salmon fishery, saying that the first announcement concerning the Copper River District fishery will be issued between May 1 and May 8.
The most likely start date for the first commercial fishing period in the Copper River District is Monday, May 16, and 2016 harvest projections for the commercial common property fishery for the Copper River district are 1.6 million sockeye, 201,000 coho and 21,000 Chinook salmon.
The initial management strategy will be based on anticipated weekly sockeye and Chinook salmon harvests for the Copper River District and additional assessments of river conditions, biologists said, in an announcement this past week. Once the Miles Lake sonar is deployed, the in-river goal becomes one of the primary factors in management decisions. By late June, aerial estimates of Copper River Delta sockeye salmon escapement are also considered. Standard commercial fishing schedules are two evenly spaced fishing periods a week with the first period each week starting on Mondays at 7 a.m. Then beginning in early to mid-August when coho salmon harvests become predominant, the Copper and Bering River districts will be managed for silvers.
The 2016 commercial common property fishery harvest projections for the Bering River District are 14,000 sockeye and 46,000 coho salmon.
In the Eshamy District the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation’s Main Bay Hatchery has a forecast of 1.6 million sockeyes, and the management strategy this year will be to provide two extended periods a week in the hatchery subdistrict similar to the strategy used for the past five years. The Eshamy District is expected to open for the season on May 30, as is the Coghill District, with a forecast of 110,000 reds, biologists said.