April 02, 2009
Utilizing data on the strength of West Coast Chinook salmon stocks that contribute to Southeast Alaska fisheries, the Pacific Salmon Commission's Chinook Technical Committee has determined that the 2009 Abundance Index for Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska is 1.33. As specified in the recently revised 2008 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement, this level of abundance translates into an allowable all-gear catch for Southeast Alaska of 218,800 treaty Chinook. The 2009 harvest level takes into account a fifteen percent reduction from harvest levels allowed under the Chinook fishery arrangements in place from 1999 to 2008. Most Chinook salmon produced in Alaska hatcheries are not factored into the Abundance Index and may be harvested in addition to the treaty limit.
Chinook salmon returns to many West Coast rivers from Oregon to Alaska remain below the high levels seen from 2003 to 2005, but several key populations are showing improvements over the returns that led to the significantly reduced allowable harvests in 2008. While the factors affecting the abundance of Chinook salmon on the West Coast are complex, ocean conditions in 2004 2005 that negatively affected survival of salmon in the early part of their lifecycle have now moderated substantially. These improved ocean conditions, combined with on-going upland habitat restoration and improved freshwater management in the Pacific Northwest, appear to be contributing to an improving status for many Chinook stocks.
The treaty Chinook salmon harvest will be allocated to sport, commercial troll, and commercial net fisheries according to the management plans specified by the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
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