Forecasts for 2018 Chinook runs in Southeast Alaska’s Situk, Chilkat, Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers completed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) project are, with one exception, the lowest runs on record, using historical information spanning man decades.
The only exception is the Situk River, where the 2018 Chinook forecast is slightly above the recent 10-year average.
Inseason estimates and associated run projections produced in the spring and summer of 2018 will ultimately supersede these forecasts, state biologists said.
State biologists say reduced productivity of Chinook salmon stocks is a major concern in Southeast Alaska and other select areas of that state. ADF&G released the information to raise public awareness of poor 2018 king salmon forecasts and to provide notice that the agency intends to manage fisheries that encounter Chinook salmon this coming year in a conservative manner. During an Alaska Board of Fisheries work session in October, state biologists provided a stock status an update on Southeast Alaska salmon stocks that included kings. The latest update includes an evaluation of salmon stocks relative to guidance contained in the policy for management of sustainable salmon fisheries.
The state report said that while other Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon stocks – including Stikine, Taku and Situk river stocks – are not designated stocks of concern based on policy for management of sustainable salmon fisheries criteria, that low abundance of these stocks warrants very conservative fishery management in the near term.