Tag Archives: Upper Cook inlet

2019 salmon season fell short in some areas

As nearly every commercial salmon fisherman in Upper Cook Inlet can tell you, the 2019 season fell far short in every department. The commercial harvest came in at about 2.1 million sockeye, 37% below the most recent 10-year average, and the total run, forecast for 6 million sockeye, fell 13% short,,, Lower Cook Inlet, meanwhile, had a better season with a commercial harvest of 2.4 million fish of all species. >click to read< 18:07

Kenai River sockeye push liberalizes bag limits; commercial catches rise

After a slow start to their season, things are looking up for Upper Cook Inlet’s commercial fishermen. Total salmon landings reached 1.4 million after the July 29 fishing period, with more than 1.1 million sockeye so far. The majority of those landings have come from the Central District drift gillnet fleet and east side setnets, with setnetters on the west side, Kalgin Island and in the Northern district bringing in about 150,000 salmon between them, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Elizabeth Earl >click to read< 15:29

Sen. Pete Micciche proposes setnet buyback bill

Sen. Pete Micciche (R-Soldotna) is having another go at getting a bill through the legislature that would reduce the number of commercial east side setnetters in Upper Cook Inlet by about half, something that is supported by the leaders of the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, a setnetter organization. Micciche and KPFA say the effort began about four years ago, and Micciche pre-filed a bill before the last legislative session. That bill, Senate Bill 135, stated that “the Alaska Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to reduce the number of commercial setnet fishers on the east side of Cook Inlet.” >click to read<16:53

Disaster declarations, relief in limbo for multiple fisheries

The last few years of commercial fishing for Alaska have turned up poor for various regions of the state, resulting in disaster declarations and potential federal assistance.The 2018 season proved no different, with at least two disaster requests in the works at the state level. A third is in process at the federal level, and yet another is finally distributing money to affected fishermen from the 2016 season.<click to read>12:46

Upper Cook Inlet fishermen seek federal disaster declaration

This season was a sour one for salmon fishermen across the Gulf of Alaska, and participants in multiple fisheries are seeking funding for relief. The Board of Fisheries and Gov. Bill Walker already granted a disaster declaration for Chignik, which harvested next to zero sockeye salmon this year due to an unprecedented poor return to the Chignik River on the Alaska Peninsula. Sockeye salmon runs across the Gulf of Alaska failed to deliver this year, either in timing or in size, at a huge cost to fishermen. >click to read<18:17

Smoke-filled rooms

With the fishing season beginning in the 49th state, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has been holding private meetings to forge an agreement between commercial, sport and other fishing interests on how to manage salmon in Cook Inlet. The reason why is unclear. By law, the regulation of state fisheries falls solely under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. One of the first acts of the Alaska Legislature after Statehood in 1959 was to establish a Board of Fish and Game – later split into the separate boards for fish and wildlife management – to insulate resource decisions from backroom politicking. >click to read<10:37

Upper Cook Inlet – Commercial fishermen to open with regular periods

Commercial fisheries managers in Cook Inlet are moving forward with a cautious eye on salmon runs but relatively normal fishing regulations for the summer. An Alaska Department of Fish and Game announcement released Friday detailed the 2018 commercial salmon fishing management strategy for Upper Cook Inlet. Managers are predicting a somewhat lower Kenai River late-run king salmon return, but it’s still within the sustainable escapement goal; the sockeye salmon forecast for the Kenai River is predicted to be 2.5 million, which is about 1.1 million less than the recent 20-year average. >click to read<08:04

Yes, no, maybe

Only days after over-seeing the deaths of nearly 90,000 Upper Cook Inlet coho salmon in two commercial drift gillnet openings in the belief the coho run was late and strong, fishery managers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have changed their minds. An emergency order issued Sunday cut commercial fishing time in the northern Inlet in half and restricted drift netters to drift “Area 1” south of Kalgin Island, along with a corridor near the mouth of the Kenai River. The Area 1 restriction pushes the fleet down into the wide, unconstricted part of the Inlet where it is harder to find the fish. click here to read the story 16:57

Commercial fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet open again as sockeye run continues

Commercial fishing resumed in Upper Cook Inlet this weekend. The Department of Fish and Game made the announcement Friday after fishing had been closed for the prior week. Commercial fisheries manager Pat Shields says the numbers of sockeye entering the Kenai river have been ticking up all week. “We’ve been continuing to closely monitor sockeye salmon passage into the Kenai river. The last few days have seen increased passage. It came down a bit Thursday, but 72,000 on Wednesday. Friday’s count in the Kenai through 7 a.m. is the highest morning count we’ve had this year. So we expect simliar passage (as) the last few days. We now can project that we’re going to end up in the goal range for Kenai river, which is 900,000 to 1.1 million. click here to read the story 22:19

Sockeye forecast adds concern to Board of Fisheries process

adfg-logoUpper Cook Inlet salmon fishery stakeholders should be concerned with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2017 sockeye forecast for many reasons — not the least of which is that the predicted low harvest will inject even more economic and allocation concerns into the debate when the Board of Fisheries meets in February. This past week, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported that Fish and Game is forecasting a return of 4 million sockeye salmon, with an expected commercial harvest of 1.7 million — about 1.2 million fish less than the 20-year average harvest. Based on 2016 prices, a harvest of 1.7 million sockeye would be worth $10.4 million to Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishermen, which is roughly half the value of this year’s harvest of 2.4 million fish. For the fish board, which sets fishery regulations, seeing a low sockeye forecast ahead of an Upper Cook Inlet meeting is akin to the economy taking a dive right before a presidential election. Each side will have its own theory as to who or what has caused the decline — and that certainly will color the debate at the Board of Fisheries meeting. Read the rest here 09:39

High expectation, a season of disappointment – Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishing winds down

upper cook inlet fishingThe boom of fish the commercial operations in Upper Cook Inlet expected never arrived this year. High preseason expectations made the 2016 season a disappointment for many commercial fishermen. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game originally projected about 7.1 million sockeye salmon to return to the Upper Cook Inlet streams, but by Wednesday, only 5.2 million had. The harvest of approximately 3,023,462 million fish wasn’t the lowest in the last decade — 2009 and 2006 both had lower harvests, with approximately 2.5 million and 2.9 million fish harvested, respectively. Altogether, the commercial fishery has harvested 2,382,167 sockeye salmon and 379,064 pinks, the two most populous species commercial fishermen harvest, as of Aug. 22. They also caught 127,971 coho, 124,648 chum and 9,612 king salmon, according to Fish and Game data. Read the story here 10:53

Salmon are rolling into Upper Cook Inlet’s commercial fishery

15519601The drift fleet and setnetters in Cook Inlet have been out frequently in the past two weeks and were out for extended hours Thursday. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also opened the drift gillnet fishery in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof Sections of the Upper Subdistrict and the Anchor Point Section of the Lower Subdistrict for an additional 12-hour period on Friday to increase harvest on the sockeye salmon bound for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, according to an emergency order issued Thursday. The salmon harvest came in just shy of 2 million as of Tuesday, with sockeye leading the pack at 1.6 million, followed by pink salmon at approximately 244,000 fish. Silvers and chum are starting to come in as well, with about 43,000 silvers and about 57,000 chums so far, according to Fish and Game’s inseason harvest estimates. Read the rest here 08:27

Larger expected king run loosens restrictions on setnets, drifters

15235484Commercial fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet will be somewhat freer to fish at the outset of the 2016 season thanks to a larger projected king salmon run. For the past few years, Alaska Department of Fish & Game commercial fisheries managers have had to work around restrictions on their fisheries because of low king salmon runs to the stream systems across Upper Cook Inlet. However, with a projected late-run return of 30,000 king salmon to the Kenai River and improved runs to the Deshka and Little Susitna rivers, managers will be able to operate under normal restrictions, according to the 2016 Upper Cook Inlet commercial salmon fisheries outlook. “This will be the first year we’ve had the luxury of operating those fisheries without the restrictions,” Read the article, click here 13:09

Strong sockeye run for Upper Cook Inlet, weaker run for Lower Cook Inlet

The Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishing industry will see a spike in sockeye salmon harvest this year, if the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s forecast holds true. Fish & Game forecast a total of 7.1 million sockeye salmon to return to the Upper Cook Inlet streams and rivers, with 4.1 million allocated to commercial harvest. That number is about 1.1 million more than the 20-year average and about 1 million more than the total commercial harvest in 2015. Most of the increase will be fish headed for the Kenai River, which will see approximately one million more sockeye salmon than the 20-year average, according to Fish & Game’s forecast. Read the rest here 08:27

Water rights for wild salmon or coal mine? DNR to decide. Comments extended to April 9

The state is getting ready to choose between giving water rights to sustain wild salmon or to proposed at Upper Cook Inlet. If it opts for the mine, the decision will set a troubling legal precedent – it means the same could soon be coming to a river near you. It would be the first time in Alaska’s state history that we would allow an Outside corporation to mine completely through a salmon stream. And the purpose is to ship coal to China. Read the rest here 23:06

It takes fish to make fish – Larry Engel

The uptick in silvers to the Mat-Su is part of what we on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission were asking for last February when we took our plea to the Alaska Board of Fisheries, the state’s highest fisheries regulating board.  In February, by a vote of 7 to 0, the Board of Fisheries agreed on changes to commercial fishing regulations for the drift gillnet fleet in Upper Cook Inlet.  Read the rest here 13:44

Commercial fishermen see glut of pinks, pricier reds

If measured in sheer volume of fish, the Upper Cook Inlet commercial harvest of salmon was low: preliminary Fish and Game estimates show it at about 20 percent less than the 10-year average harvest. But, when  20 percent less than the 10-year average, the exvessel value of the 2014 harvest was high at $35 million — making it the second year in a row that Cook Inlet commercial harvesters have seen lower-than-average harvests with higher-than-average values. Read the rest here    07:47

Alaska Board of Fisheries: Mat-Su Borough Appeals for More Attention to Susitna Salmon

The Alaska Board of Fisheries is in the midst of two weeks of meetings on potential changes to fishing regulations in the Upper Cook Inlet.  The meetings have become the most recent venue for what are often referred to as the “fish wars.”  Commercial, sport, and subsistence fishermen,, Read [email protected]  11:35

Compass: Finger-pointing won’t put any more kings in the rivers

This summer there have been several ADN Compass  pieces,  articles from other print and electronic media and countless blogs stoking the fires of the Cook inlet fish wars. Recently, however, some have suggested that the lack of fish and fishing opportunity is a problem that can only be solved through a collaborative effort of all users. They are correct. @adn.com