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Press Release



TULUKSAK TO THE REFUGE BOUNDARY


SPECIAL ACTION


05/23/2014


Contact: Deborah Coble
(907) 786-3880 or (800) 478-1456
Deborah_Coble@fws.gov   

SUBSISTENCE FISHING

Under Authority of 50 CFR Part 100.10 and .19 36 CFR Part 242.10 and .19 USDA Forest Service 

Special Action No.: 3-KS-03-14 Issued at: Bethel, Alaska May 23, 2014 
Effective Date: May 27, 2014 12:01 a.m. 
Expiration Date: July 18,2014 11 :59 p.m. unless superseded by subsequent Special Action 

EXPLANATION:

TULUKSAK TO THE REFUGE BOUNDARY 

This Special Action closes king salmon fishing to all users in conservation section 3 from Tuluksak to the boundary of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge near the village of Aniak. This action follows the conservation strategy discussed with the members of local Tribes, public, Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game over the previous 10 months. 

REGULATION 
50 CFR 100.27(e)(4)(ii) is amended to add: 

Effective 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2014 subsistence Chinook (king) salmon fishing with hook and line gear is closed and subsistence fishing is restricted to the use of set gill nets with 4-inch or less mesh size not exceeding 60-feet in length in salmon conservation Section 3. Additionally, a fish wheel used to take fish must be equipped with a livebox that contains no less than 45 cubic feet of water volume while in operation. The livebox must be checked at least once every six hours while in operation and all king salmon must be returned to the water alive. 

This area is defined as that portion of the Kuskokwim River and its tributaries upstream from a line between ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately half a mile upstream of the Tuluksak River mouth to the refuge boundary located along a north-south line intersecting the 1101 E Tudor Road, MS 121 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 (907) 786-3888/(800) 478-1456 Fax (907) 786-3898 2 western tip of "Rabbit Island" directly east and across Aniak Slough from the village of Aniak. This section does NOT include the slough (locally known as Utak Slough) on the northwest side of the Kuskokwim River adjacent to the Tuluksak River mouth. Excluded waters are non-salmon spawning tributaries: the Whitefish Lake drainage near Aniak and those portions of Discovery, Birch, and Swift creeks more than 100 yards upstream from the mouth of these rivers, are open with any mesh size gill net and are not affected by these closures. 

JUSTIFICATION 

Biological 

Since 2010, the Kuskokwim River has experienced poor king salmon returns and 2013 was the lowest return on record. The 2014 State of Alaska king salmon forecast is for a return of 94,000 fish (range of 71,000- 117,000). The State of Alaska drainage-wide escapement goal is 65,000- 120,000 king salmon. If the 2014 return is within the forecast then there would be enough fish to meet escapement goals and provide for very limited king salmon subsistence harvest. The majority of escapement goals were not met in 2013 and all weir assessment projects had the lowest on record. Given consecutive years of low king salmon returns and non-achievement of escapement goals significant conservation measures are warranted.

FEDERAL SUBSISTENCE BOARD