Alaska wildlife officials have ordered a shutdown of sport fishing for king salmon in the Kenai River, citing low salmon numbers
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Alaska wildlife officials have ordered a shutdown of sport fishing for king salmon in the Kenai River, citing low salmon numbers.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is ending sport fishing from the river’s mouth to the outlet of Skilak Lake beginning Wednesday and lasting through the rest of June, the Peninsula Clarion reported .
Officials plan to reopen the river in certain areas in July.
“This closure is not an easy decision; however even after prohibiting harvest of king salmon in the fishery last week, we are not projecting to meet the escapement goal and need to take this next step,” said Matt Miller, the department’s Cook Inlet coordinator.
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About 2,116 salmon were recorded in the river as of Sunday. The department projects the salmon run to fall below the escapement goal of 3,900 to 6,600 fish. The department is expecting the king run to be between 3,095 and 3,609 depending on the run’s timing.
“King salmon stocks throughout Cook Inlet, including the Kenai River runs, are experiencing a period of low productivity and the restrictions and closures are being felt across the state,” Miller said.
The department restricted the Kenai and Kasilof rivers to catch and release fishing for king salmon with emergency orders last week.
Fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River Sanctuary area is planned to stay open until August. About 7,700 sockeye salmon had passed the Russian River weir as of Sunday, according to the department.
The department is expecting the escapement goal of 22,000 to 42,000 sockeye salmon will be reached.
Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com