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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Preseason Forecasts Up for SE Chinook

Preseason Chinook salmon forecasts for the Stikine and Taku rivers in Southeast Alaska show an improved outlook over a year ago, allowing for a limited direct fishery in the Stikine in Alaska beginning May 2, but not for the Taku river.

The Sitka office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued a preseason terminal run size forecast of 33,900 fish for the Stikine River, which allows for a US allowable catch of 1,100 large king salmon, so that a limited directed commercial fishery may occur in District 8.

News releases announcing specific opening times and areas are to be released in mid-April 2016.

The 2016 preseason terminal run size forecast for Taku River large Chinook salmon is 29,200 fish, not enough to provide for an allowable catch for either the US or Canada and no directed fisheries will occur in early May, state biologists said.

Inseason terminal run size estimates will be produced starting in late May 2016, but it is unlikely any directed fisheries will occur in District 11 in 2016, biologists said.

When the first inseason Taku River Chinook salmon terminal run estimate is produced, a news release will be distributed as soon as possible with the estimated run size, resulting allowable catch, and information concerning potential directed king salmon fishery openings.

Biologists said forecasts for both rivers have consistently overestimated the final terminal run size estimates in the near past, so forecasts for both rivers were reduced by their respective recent five-year average percent error of 39 percent and 12 percent. An additional consideration taken into account for revising the forecasts is the general poor performance of king salmon stocks throughout the region in recent years, biologists said.

A year ago the preseason terminal run size forecasts for large king salmon was 30,200 fish for the Stikine River, not large enough to allow for a directed US commercial fishery. Likewise, the 2014 preseason terminal run size forecast of 26,100 fish for the Taku River was insufficient to allow for a fishery on either the US or Canadian side of this transboundary river, biologists said.

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