KHNS is featuring regular fisheries updates with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Mark Sogge through the summer season. Sogge manages the commercial and subsistence fisheries in District 15.
The commercial gillnet fleet in the Northern Lynn Canal had a successful start to the season, hauling in near historic numbers of chum salmon. But those fish are tapering off now, and sockeye are still slow to arrive.
This conversation with reporter Abbey Collins was recorded on Friday, July 14, after the most recent commercial gillnet opening.
Some highlights from the discussion:
- (0:17) Chum salmon — the chum harvest has likely reached it’s peak this season. From July 9-13, fishermen in District 15 harvested 221,000 chum. That’s compared to an estimated 470,000 during the previous opening. The total harvest to-date this season is close to a million chum.
- (1:03) Sockeye salmon — Sockeye are coming in weak so far this season. The total harvest in District 15 so far this season has been around 5,000 fish. Sogge says the average for this time of year is around 22,000 fish. During the last opening, fishermen harvested about 1,800 sockeye.
- (2:42) Pink salmon — About 27,000 pinks have been harvested in the Northern Lynn Canal so far this season. The latest harvest was around 12,000 fish.
- (3:25) King salmon — Around 600 king salmon have been harvested in District 15 so far this year. But none of them have been tagged Chilkat Chinook. Fishermen harvested about 140 kings during the last opening.
- (4:20) Recent escapement numbers — The Chilkat weir is the only one that is where Fish and Game wants it to be, in terms of meeting escapement goals. Chilkoot is not tracking to meet escapement goals.
- (5:47) Subsistence — Fish and Game delayed opening the Chilkat Inlet subsistence fishery until July 22. It was supposed to open July 15. The delay is one of many efforts in place this year to conserve king salmon. There are more Chinook in the river right now then were expected. So Fish and Game wants to give them another week to pass through before subsistence nets get thrown in the water.
- (8:15) Next commercial gillnet opening — The next opening will be cut back to two days. Sogge is allowing the boat harbor area to open seven days a week.