The publication is designed to highlight these issues while giving the reader an overview of what ASF&G is doing to understand and sustainably manage this important resource, said Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell.
Ed Jones, the state agency’s Chinook salmon research initiative coordinator, notes that Alaska’s Chinook salmon stocks currently are suffering from a prolonged period of poor productivity and research suggests that the problem lies mostly in the marine environment. “This is not unprecedented, it has happened historically, and it’s not a matter of if the runs will rebound, but when,” Jones said.
Meanwhile weak Chinook runs have impacted subsistence harvests, sport fishing opportunities and commercial activity. On the Lower Yukon River, commercial harvesters are using dip nets to harvest keta salmon, to avoid the kings that could otherwise be caught in drift nets.
ASF&G hopes that its Chinook Salmon Research Initiative launched in 2012 will help determine the causes for the downturn in production. They hope this effort will provide the information needed to better predict Chinook runs in the future and help them to better manage fisheries to sustain harvests even in years of low runs. Plans are over the next five years to study 12 river systems throughout Alaska.
Campbell said ADF&G is committed to keeping all Alaskans informed about this issue through the website, http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/library/pdfs/chinooknews/cn_summer2014_n1.pdf
The current issue explains the research initiative and extensive information on king salmon, their diversity of life history traits, their role in Alaska’s lifestyle and Alaska and the world’s economy.