A king salmon during the 67th annual Golden North Salmon Derby at the Don D. Statter Memorial Boat Harbor in August 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A king salmon during the 67th annual Golden North Salmon Derby at the Don D. Statter Memorial Boat Harbor in August 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

King fisheries in Northern Cook Inlet closed

  • Tuesday, January 8, 2019 3:08am
  • News

The Northern Cook Inlet, including the Susitna and Little Susitna River, is closed to commercial and sport king salmon fishing in 2019.

According to an emergency order from Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Northern Cook Inlet will be closed to king salmon commercial and sports fisheries, and subsistence fisheries will be restricted.

King salmon sport fisheries will be closed throughout the Susitna River, Yentna River and Little Susitna River drainages throughout the 2019 season. Commercial fishing will be closed in the Northern District of Upper Cook Inlet through June 24 to allow king salmon passage.

Fish and Game is not closing subsistence fishing entirely. The department said they recognize the need to share the burden of conservation, but also understand the importance of subsistence fishing. So, subsistence king salmon fisheries in Tyonek and Upper Yentna subdistricts will be restricted to two days per week instead of the usual three.

“The department must make these closures and restrictions because of a recent pattern of extremely poor returns for king salmon stocks in the NCI area,” said ADF&G Acting Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang in a release from Fish and Game. “The outlook for this season is particularly worrisome with the Deshka River king salmon forecast well below the escapement goal.”

The restrictions are an attempt to conserve weak king salmon stocks since several stocks in the North Cook Inlet area have failed to meet their escapement goals in recent years.

“While the department realizes these closures and restrictions cause hardship, we want the public to know now what is happening well in advance of the 2019 season,” Vincent-Lang said in the release.

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@penisulaclarion.com.

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