The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Thursday the closure of a special harvest area for sockeye, a new commercial salmon period and an extension to a current salmon period.
Despite the commercial salmon activity in some areas, scientists are wary of how recent high temperatures and low levels of water will affect salmon populations.
“Basically if there’s no water, the (fish) that have already swam upriver could potentially die without spawning if it’s too warm or (if there’s) no water. And then the fish waiting to move up won’t move up until we get some rain,” said ADF&G Assistant Area Biologist Geoff Spalinger.
Although Spalinger admitted that it is too early to know how salmon populations will be affected by Kodiak’s high temperatures, he pointed out the importance of keeping an eye on certain “systems.”
According to the notice, the Spiridon Bay Special Harvest Area (Telrod Cove) will close to commercial salmon fishing at 9 p.m. today.
In this area, sockeye fish stocked in Spiridon Bay return to Telrod Cove. More pinks are being caught than sockeye in the area. Because ADF&G are targeting sockeye in the area and not pinks, they will close the area, Spalinger said.
The notice also stated that there will be an 81-hour commercial salmon fishing period from noon today, to 9 p.m. Monday. Spalinger explained that this opener is due to the decent fish numbers for Ayakulik and the other areas.
This commercial salmon fishing period will occur in the following areas:
— The Outer Ayakulik Section of the Southwest Kodiak District;
— The Shuyak Island and Pauls Bay sections of the Afognak District.
There will also be a 48-hour extension to the current commercial salmon fishing period from 9 p.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Monday, in the following areas:
— The Northwest Kodiak District
— The Southwest Afognak, Northwest Afognak, Northeast Afognak, Southeast Afognak, Raspberry Strait, and Perenosa Bay sections of the Afognak District
— The Eastside Kodiak District; and - The Humpy-Deadman Section of the Alitak District.