State wildlife officials have ordered a shutdown of sport fishing for Copper River salmon starting next week, citing low salmon counts

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GLENNALLEN, Alaska (AP) — State wildlife officials have ordered a shutdown of sport fishing for Copper River salmon starting next week, citing low salmon counts.

Mark Somerville is a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Glennallen. He says the closure likely will be for the entire season, though officials plan to monitor the situation.

Somerville says the department will evaluate whether restrictions on subsistence fishing are necessary.

KCAM reports that biologists believe warmer ocean temperatures are to blame for the low salmon returns. Temperatures up to 5 degrees higher than normal would cause increased metabolism and reduce food sources, limiting survival.

The Copper River commercial fishery has not reopened since closing late last month.

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Information from: KCAM-AM, http://www.kcam.org