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King salmon sees major restrictions: On sport fishing in Southeast AK

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Monday announced significant restrictions on sport fishing for king salmon in specified areas throughout Southeast Alaska — including Ketchikan.

“These actions are being taken as part of a regionwide effort to reduce harvest of Southeast Alaska wild king salmon and increase spawning escapement for future production while implementing the conservative management measures called for aunder the Unuk River King Salmon Action Plan,” according to the department’s announcement for the Ketchikan area. “Management actions are being taken across all Southeast Alaska fisheries, including sport, commercial, personal use, and subsistence, to reduce harvest of wild king salmon.”

In the Ketchikan area, the restrictions are as follows:

•  Salmon fishing is closed year-round in the Behm Canal and contiguous bays area “enclosed to the north by a line from the western entrance of Bailey Bay to the northern tip of Hassler Island and a line from Fin Point to Dress Point to a line from Cactus Point to Point Eva.”

• From April 1 to Aug. 14, king salmon retention will be prohibited in two areas:

   — “In West Behm Canal and the contiguous bays enclosed to the north by a line from the western entrance of Bailey Bay to the northern tip of Hassler Island and a line from Fin Point to Dress Point and to the south by a line from Indian Point to Mike Point.”

   — “In the waters of southern Revillagigedo Channel enclosed from a line from Lucky Point to Middy Point, continuing to the latitude of Beaver Point and from Point Rosen to Quadra Point and in southeast Behm Canal from Cactus Point to Eva Point.”  

 Is these areas, sport angler may not retain or possess king salmon, and all king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed, according to the announcement.

• From April 1 to June 14, king salmon retention is prohibited in all other waters of District 1 and District 2, which includes southern Clarence Strait to Dixon Entrance.

According to the announcement, Fish and Game will release the regional king salmon sport fishing bag, possession and annual limits rules later this year when the Alaska all-gear harvest limit of king salmon is announced in accordance with the U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty. However, the regional regulations will not supersede the restrictions announced Monday.

The Unuk River King Salmon Action Plan was adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in January 2018.

“This plan was adopted after the Unuk River experienced a chronic inability to meet the king salmon escapement goal despite increasingly restrictive management actions,” states the department’s announcement. “While the Unuk River stock achieved the escapement goal in 2018 and is projected to meet the escapement goal in 2019, restrictions continue to be necessary to ensure this stock will continue to meet escapement goals. Across the region, Southeast Alaska wild king salmon stocks continue to experience poor productivity.”