Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

The comment period for the draft of the 2022 Statewide Stocking Plan for sport fisheries is now open, the Alaska State Department of Fish and Game announced Wednesday.

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

The stocking plan states the Alaska Sport Fish Harvest Survey reported a 30% decrease in fish caught and 34% decrease in fish harvested from 2020 to 2019. The plan aims to replenish some of the salmon stock to give sport anglers more of an opportunity to bag fish.

As written now, the draft states the objective is to release 7 million fingerling, or smolt — young salmon — at “hundreds of locations statewide.”

Among some of the factors that affect salmon populations, the stocking plan states that prior fish quantities and human population growth have an impact.

The stocking plan is divided by region. It seeks to provide more sport fishing opportunities to Southeast Alaska and the Interior, as well as Southcentral — which includes the Kenai Peninsula.

In the Kasilof River sport fishery, for example, the draft states the objectives are to return approximately 3,000 hatchery-produced, early-run kings while ensuring that a sustainable escapement goal of 700 to 1,400 naturally produced adult kings continue to spawn.

The draft of the 2022 Statewide Stocking Plan outlines all locations, numbers, and sizes or life stages of salmon that the department plans to release. The plan is available to view in full on the ADF&G Division of Sport Fish webpage.

The press release noted that only fish reared from the division’s hatchery facilities and from private, nonprofit hatcheries that partner with the ADF&G are included in the draft of the stocking.

The public comment period is open through Jan. 31, 2022. Comments should be submitted to Andrew Garry — the statewide stocking coordinator — by email at andrew.garry@alaska.gov or by mail to William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, c/o Andrew Garry at 941 North Reeve Boulevard, Anchorage, AK, 99501.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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