The Alaska Department of Fish And Game announced new commercial salmon fishing periods and extensions as well as the start of cost recovery fisheries in a news release distributed on Sunday.
Cost recovery fisheries were scheduled to begin in the Kitoi Bay Special Harvest Area on Monday. Fishing opportunities in the Duck Bay, Izhut Bay, Inner Kitoi Bay, and Outer Kitoi Bay sections will depend on the ability to meet Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association cost recovery needs, according to the release.
KRAA Executive Director Tina Fairbanks said the special harvest area was opened to cost recovery because they are seeing an accumulation of fish near the hatchery.
“Even though the special harvest area has opened to cost recovery fishing, we actually are not fishing yet. We’re open in case we can,” she said.
According to the news release, there will also be a 57-hour commercial salmon fishing period that started Monday and will end 9 p.m. Wednesday in the following areas: the Southeast Afognak, Shuyak Island, Pauls Bay, Perenosa Bay and Northeast Afognak sections of the Afognak District.
The release also announced a 48-hour extension to the current commercial salmon fishing period from 9 p.m. Monday to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the following areas:
— Northwest Kodiak District
— The Southwest Afognak, Raspberry Straits and Northwest Afognak Section of the Afognak District
— The Eastside Kodiak District
— The Humpy-Deadman Section of the Alitak District.
“Our forecast for Kitoi Bay was about 7 million fish total, and we expected that there would be about 5 to 5.3 million that was harvested by the commercial fishery,” Fairbanks said. “But, right now the numbers are pretty far behind what we would expect to be if that many fish were to return. Right now, I think it’s safe to say that the hatchery return is looking weak.”
The ADF&G also released a harvest summary of the total salmon harvested through Sunday. According to the release 1,522,922 sockeye and 10,515,772 pinks have been harvested.
The areas where the most amount of sockeye and pinks have been harvested are the Karluk, Northwest Kodiak and Southwest Afognak areas. In these locations, 697,581 sockeye and 7,673,544 pinks have been harvested.
Additionally, a total of 5,989 Chinook have been harvested compared to 52,102 coho and 378,416 chum.
As previously announced by ADF&G, the following areas closed as scheduled at 9 p.m. Monday:
— The Outer Ayakulik Section of the Southwest Kodiak District
— The Cape Alitak, Alitak Bay, Moser Bay, Olga Bay, and Dog Salmon Flats sections of the Alitak District
— The Mainland District
Closed waters are expanded until further notice in the Southwest Afognak section of the Afognak District, within one-half nautical mile of the beach near the terminus of Malina Creek (stream #252-105) between 58° 10.00’ N lat. and 58° 11.00’ N lat.
According to the announcement, the Spiridon Bay Special Harvest Area (Telrod Cove) is open to commercial salmon fishing until further notice.
Fishermen are reminded that until further notice in the Kodiak area, the Northwest Kodiak and Southwest Kodiak districts south of the latitude of Cape Kuliuk, Chinook salmon 28 inches or greater in length may not be retained by purse seine gear in the commercial fishery, and must be returned to the water unharmed.
Other closed waters are as shown on the Kodiak Area Salmon Statistical Chart and detailed in the Commercial Salmon Fishing Regulations (5AAC 18.350). Statistical Charts, Harvest Strategies, and Commercial Salmon Fishing Regulations are available at the Kodiak Fish and Game office. Recent salmon fishery information may be obtained by calling the Department’s 24-hour record-a-phone at 486-4559.
Additionally, all cost recovery information can be obtained by calling 486-6559, according to the release.