Commercial fishermen to fish Thursday

Commercial fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet will head out as usual Thursday, but with restricted area for the drift fleet and restricted gear in the northern district.

Drift gillnet fishermen will be out in the expanded Kenai and Kasilof sections, known as the corridor, for a 12-hour period Thursday. When the projected sockeye runs are less than 2.3 million sockeye to the Kenai River, drift gillnet fishermen are restricted to the corridor rather than being able to fish in the central area of the inlet or inlet-wide, under the drift gillnet management plan.

Northern district setnetters, in the area north of Boulder Point near Nikiski on both sides of Cook Inlet, will also be restricted on gear for the next several periods. Fishermen in the General Subdistrict can only use one net, no more than 35 fathoms long, and fishermen in the Eastern Subdistict can only use two, no more than 35 fathoms long each.

The northern restrictions are to help increase passage to the Susitna River during the later part of July and the early part of August, according to an emergency order issued Wednesday.

“If the department determines that Susitna River sockeye salmon escapement goals will be achieved, the gear restriction may be relaxed by emergency order,” the emergency order states.

East side setnet fishermen in the Kasilof and Kenai sections will be able to fish their regular period unless modified by emergency order Thursday.

Reach Elizbaeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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