2012 King Salmon Sport and Commercial Fishing Restrictions Planned for Northern Cook Inlet Streams, Alaska

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Sport and commercial fisheries within the Northern Cook Inlet area will be managed conservatively during the 2012 season in response to low king salmon abundance over recent years, a below-average outlook for the upcoming season, and uncertainty over how quickly king salmon abundance may rebound. Emergency orders will be issued prior to the fishing season to affect sport and commercial fisheries as follows:

Restrictions for sport fishing in the Susitna River drainages and Knik Arm drainages will include:

  • Area-wide: annual limit of two (2) king salmon, except the Eklutna Tailrace.
  • Area-wide: unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures only, except for the lower Deshka River and the Eklutna Tailrace (single-hook means a fish hook with only one point).
  • The Little Susitna River will be further restricted by allowing harvest on Friday-Monday only; catch-and-release fishing for king salmon will be allowed Tuesday-Thursday.
  • Parks Highway streams within Unit 2 of the Susitna River will be further restricted to prohibit the harvest of king salmon beginning June 12 through the remainder of the fishing season. Catch-and-release fishing will be allowed during the three-day weekends (Saturday–Monday) beginning June 16 through July 2. Fishing for any species of fish will be closed Tuesday–Friday beginning June 12.

Restrictions for the Northern District commercial king salmon fishery will include:

  • Reduction of all four commercial fishing periods from 12 hours to 6 hours.

This management strategy is designed to provide fishing opportunity throughout the season and reduce the potential for midseason closures. Restrictions may be relaxed late in the season if escapement goals are projected to be achieved and additional harvest is available. Northern Cook Inlet king salmon stocks have been well below average since 2007. Restrictive regulations passed by the Board of Fisheries in 2011 to reduce king salmon harvest in Northern Cook Inlet were insufficient to achieve escapement goals in 2011 in 12 of 17 systems that have established goals; therefore, restrictions beyond regulations adopted by the Board of Fisheries are necessary to reduce harvest potential of sport (guided and unguided) and commercial fisheries in 2012.