FISHERIES UPDATE FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 13-19, 2022 Report #4

The purpose of the weekly fisheries update is to provide the reader with an overall summary of the status of subsistence related fisheries throughout the state of Alaska.  The target audience is the Federal Subsistence Board and its Staff Committee.  The report was compiled with the assistance of the Federal in-season managers and OSM staff that provided weekly updated information by the close of business on Friday of the reporting week.  My goal is to have the report sent by the close of business the following Monday.  Web links have been included to provide additional information.  You may obtain additional information on a fishery of particular interest by contacting the in-season manager, provided contacts, follow the provided web links, or contact me.

6/21/2022
George Pappas
(907) 317-2165

SOUTHEAST ALASKA

Sitka and Hoonah Area – Forest Service, Tongass National Forest

Jake Musslewhite, 907-789-6256  jacob.g.musslewhite@usda.gov

June 12, 2022 – Report will be updated next week.

Herring – The 2022 Sitka Sound commercial sac roe herring fishery was conducted between March 26 and April 10, and harvested approximately 25,500 tons of herring.  The harvest represented 56% of the guideline harvest level of 45,164 tons set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  Aerial and boat-based surveys mapped 91.5 miles of herring spawn between March 27 and April 28. This was the fifth largest estimate since 1953 and higher than the 10-year average of 63 miles of spawn.

Sockeye Salmon – Sockeye Salmon fisheries in the area have not begun for the season.

Falls Lake – The Falls Lake weir project was operated for the 21st consecutive year in 2021. The project monitors escapement and terminal harvest of Sockeye Salmon returning to Falls Lake each year. In 2021, an estimated 1,189 Sockeye escaped to the lake, while 315 were harvested in terminal subsistence and sport fisheries (Figure 1). The escapement and harvest were lower than in recent years. However, spawn-recruit analyses indicate that maximum recruitment of Falls Lake Sockeye Salmon occurs at lower escapements – around 2,000 fish. So, the low escapements seen in 2020 and 2021 may still provide for an adequate number of returning adults in several years.

The Falls Lake project was not funded for operation in 2022.

Figure 11. Escapement estimate and on-site harvest estimate for Falls Lake Sockeye Salmon, 2001-2021.

Figure 1. Escapement estimate and onsite harvest estimate for Falls Lake Sockeye Salmon, 2001-2021.

Petersburg and Wrangell Area –Andrew Sanders, Forest Service, Tongass National Forest Andrew Sanders, (907)772-3871 andrew.sanders@usda.gov

Petersburg and Wrangell Area –Andrew Sanders, Forest Service, Tongass National Forest Andrew Sanders, (907)772-3871 andrew.sanders@usda.gov

The pre-season terminal run forecast for large Chinook Salmon in the Stikine River is 7,400 fish. This forecast is below the goal range of 14,000 to 28,000 fish. Directed commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries in the area have been closed to protect this return. Currently, all drift gillnet, purse seine and non-terminal harvest area troll fisheries are closed in district 8.

The 2022 Stikine River pre-season Sockeye Salmon forecast is 63,000 fish, with 42,00 Tahltan and 21,000 Mainstem fish. The 2020 Sockeye Salmon forecast was 103,400 fish, which included 64,500 Tahltan Lake and 38,900 Mainstem Sockeye. The escapement objective for Tahltan bound Sockeye Salmon is 18,000 to 30,000, and 20,000 to 40,000 for Mainstem fish. The 2022 forecast for Tahltan is expected to meet the escapement objective with a sufficient surplus for allowable harvest. The forecast for the mainstem is not expected to exceed the escapement goal and may result in a season closure.

The 2022 Federal Stikine River Sockeye Salmon subsistence fishery begins June 21. A total of 26 permits have been issued for the Stikine fishery and no harvest estimate is available at this time.

Juneau and Yakutat – Forest Service, Tongass National Forest

Jake Musslewhite, 907-789-6256  jacob.g.musslewhite@usda.gov

June 13, 2022 – No update for reporting period e

Sockeye Salmon - Sockeye Salmon fisheries in the area have not begun for the season. Most subsistence fisheries begin in late June, as returning fish start to show up at the mouths of streams.

The kickoff for the 2022 commercial salmon fishery in southeast Alaska begins this coming weekend, with the first purse seine and gillnet openings on June 19. Most of the early openings target hatchery produced chum salmon, which are expected to have weak returns this year. The only purse seine opening is the index fishery at Pt. Augusta, which is used to assess run strength in the area. Gillnet openings in northern southeast are in Districts 11 and 15.

Sitkoh Lake – The Sitkoh Lake weir is a cooperative project between the Forest Service and the Angoon Community Association, and monitors Sockeye Salmon escapement to the lake using a remotely monitored video weir. In 2021, we counted a total of 5,303 Sockeye Salmon through the weir. This was an improvement from the poor escapements of 2017-2019, but less than the 8,000-12,000 fish seen in previous years (Figure 1). The Sitkoh Lake project will continue to operate in 2022, with the weir to be installed in early July. Returns are likely to be on the low side, based on the poor escapements in parent years.

Figure 18. Estimated cumulative escapement of Sockeye Salmon into Sitkoh Lake through video weirs, 2015 to 2021.

Figure 1. Estimated cumulative escapement of Sockeye Salmon into Sitkoh Lake through video weirs, 2015 to 2021.

Neva Lake – The Neva Lake weir is a cooperative project operated by the Forest Service and the Hoonah Indian Association, and uses a video weir to count Sockeye Salmon entering Neva Lake, near the community of Excursion Inlet. In 2021, we counted a total of 4,262 Sockeye Salmon through the weir. Escapements have generally improved since a low point in 2015 (Figure 2). The Neva Lake project will continue to operate in 2022, with the weir to be installed in mid June.

View full fisheries update No. 4

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