Public Media for Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fish and Game announces subsistence salmon closures and restrictions on the Yukon River

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State fisheries managers announced Monday that they will again heavily restrict salmon fishing on the Yukon River.

They’re forecasting low returns of Chinook, summer and fall chum and coho this year and are restricting or closing subsistence fishing because of it.

According to a media release from the Department of Fish and Game, starting on June 2 in they’ll close subsistence fishing in District 1 and the Coastal District; they’ll likely announce closures upriver depending on salmon travel time.

Some of these restrictions could be relaxed later in the season. For instance, managers say if the summer chum runs are projected to meet their goals – those fisheries may reopen. But, they expect others – like the chinook salmon fishery – to remain closed all season.

The drainagewide Chinook salmon outlook is for a run size of 62,000 to 104,000 fish, and the Canada-origin Chinook salmon outlook is for a run of 26,000 to 43,000 fish.

The summer chum salmon outlook is for a run size of 557,000 fish, with a range of 280,000 to 900,000 fish, while the fall chum salmon outlook is 251,000 fish, with a range of 112,000 to 602,000 fish.

Hook and line fishing for pink and sockeye salmon will still be allowed in certain parts of the Yukon and fishing for non-salmon species will still be allowed – but area managers say fishermen must use gear that doesn’t target salmon.

In the release the area management team says it “recognizes the severe hardship” of the closures. They are forecasting small improvements in the chum salmon runs and said they are “confident that the sacrifices we’re making now will help them to recover.”

Editor’s note: this story was updated to include data on projected run sizes for chinook and chum salmon.

Evan Erickson is a reporter at KYUK who has previously worked as a copy editor, audio engineer and freelance journalist.