FEDERAL SUBSISTENCE FISHERY FOR EULACHON CLOSED IN FEDERAL WATERS WITHIN DISTRICT 1
February 11, 2012
Quoting the news release, few eulachon have returned to the Burroughs Bay area since 2003. Similar closures have been issued by the USDA Forest Service for eulachon within the Burroughs Bay area in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. DeFreest stated, “Eulachon are an important subsistence fish for many residents of Southeast Alaska, so I’m acting to protect these stocks to rebuild fish populations for the future”.
The strength of eulachon returns is determined by monitoring the amount of harvest by fishermen and through observations made by Forest Service and ADF&G personnel. In 2004, only 1,500 pounds of eulachon were harvested and very low numbers of returning eulachon were observed. In 2005 through 2010, no fish were harvested and only a few eulachon (42) were seen in the area. In 2011 a return of unknown size occurred in Burroughs Bay and Carroll Inlet.
Monitoring efforts by the Forest Service, ADF&G, and fishermen since 2001 have been used to provide baseline information on adult returns. However, little is known about the eulachon after they leave the river system for saltwater. Since the projected escapement of eulachon in District 1 for 2012 is unknown but thought to be low based on previous adult returns, the eulachon fishery will be closed to all users to provide for spawning escapement needs.
The Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District, in cooperation with ADF&G, will continue to monitor returns to the District 1 systems and will provide a further update in the event that a change in the situation occurs.
The Federal Subsistence Board has delegated in-season management authority to DeFreest as District Ranger for the area
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