Southeast Troll Chinook Salmon Quota Set Declines

State fisheries officials guided by the Pacific Salmon Treaty have set the all-gear commercial harvest quota for treaty salmon in Southeast Alaska at 197,300 fish, a decrease of 20,700 kings when compared with last year’s troll allocation.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials said that under Chinook salmon management provisions of the treaty, the 2012 abundance index for Southeast Alaska was calculated to be 1.52, which results in an all-gear harvest quota of 266,800 treaty Chinook salmon.

The all-gear abundance -based quota represents a decrease of 28,000 fish when compared with last year’s preseason estimate of 294,800 fish with an abundance index of 1.69.

The all-gear Chinook salmon quota is allocated among commercial and sport fisheries according to management plans established in regulation by the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Most Chinook salmon produced from Alaska hatcheries are not factored into the abundance index and may be harvested in addition to the treaty limit.

The allocations to fisheries this year under the regulatory management plan include: purse seine, 11,472 kings; drift gillnet, 7,737 kings; set gillnet, 1,000 kings; troll, 197,272 kings, and sport, 49,318 kings.

The summer commercial troll quota is calculated by subtracting the treaty Chinook salmon harvested in the winter and spring troll fisheries from the annual troll allocation.

As the final harvest numbers for non-Alaska hatchery fish (treaty fish) in the winter and spring fisheries will not be known until late June, fishing time for the summer season will not be set until just prior to the first summer season Chinook salmon opening on July 1, fisheries officials said.

The winter fishery is managed not to exceed the 45,000 king salmon guideline harvest level. While there is no specific total limit on the number of treaty kings that may be harvested in the spring fishery, the goal of that fishery is the harvest of Alaska hatchery fish and fisheries are managed to limit the harvest of treaty Chinooks.

The summer fishery is managed to target the harvest of 70 percent of the total summer quota in the first summer Chinook salmon opening in July, with the remaining quota available for harvest in a second opening, likely in August.

State biologists said a decision on whether the first summer opening will be managed in season rather than for a fixed number of days will be announced just prior to the July 1 opening.