Federal subsistence fishery for Eulachon closed in Federal public waters within District 1, except for Unuk River.

KETCHIKAN, Alaska – Ketchikan Misty Fjords District Ranger Shane Walker, under authority delegated by the Federal Subsistence Board, is closing the Federal public waters that flow into District 1, except the Unuk River drainage, to the taking of Eulachon from 12:01 a.m. on March 1, 2021, until 11:59 p.m. on April 29, 2021. 

2/23/2021
Last edited 1/25/2022

Paul Robbins Jr.
Public Affairs Officer, Tongass National Forest

907-228-6201

paul.robbins@usda.gov

Harvest within waters of the Unuk River drainage shall be limited to one five-gallon bucket of whole eulachon per household, and gear is restricted to dip nets and/or cast nets. Harvesters are encouraged to provide a few fish to the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District to sample for age and genetic analysis. A Federal fishing permit is required, and harvesters must abide by the terms of that permit. All Eulachon incidentally caught outside of the Unuk River must be immediately released into the water unharmed. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) will be closing all State managed subsistence, personal use, and commercial fisheries for Eulachon in District 1.

Portions of District 1 have been closed since 2005 due to low Eulachon returns. Though Eulachon appear to be returning to the Unuk River regularly since 2011, the stock sizes within District 1 remain lower than observations prior to the 2004 population collapse. Managers feel that allowing a limited harvest at this time will aid in our efforts to obtain biological data and better assess run sizes, as well as provide Federally qualified subsistence users an opportunity to harvest. Data collected will help managers determine if the Eulachon population can support sustained harvest and if future harvest limits should be changed. The Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District, in cooperation with ADF&G, will continue to monitor returns to District 1 systems and will provide a further update if a change occurs.

For additional information, please contact Shane Walker at 907-228-4100, or Jon Hyde at 907- 228-4137. Maps of District 1 are available at U.S. Forest Service offices. Maps and additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program can be found on the web at www.doi.gov/subsistence.

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