Sports Fishing Harvest of King Salmon Landed 24,597 Fish - P.O.W. Report

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sports Fishing Harvest of King Salmon Landed 24,597 Fish


King Salmon 2019

King Harvest Slightly Under Allocation

Sport Allocation –      25,844 fish
Sport Harvest –         24,597 fish

Anglers landed 24,597 treaty kings in Southeast during the 2019 fishing season, just 1,247 fish, or 5% shy of the 25,844-fish sport allocation. Total king harvest in Southeast Alaska is derived from an abundance number from the Pacific Salmon Commission. The sport allocation of that total harvest number, currently 20%, is determined by the Alaska Board of Fish.

The 2019 season is the first in which overages must be paid back the next year.  As much as the August 1-15 closure may have rubbed the guided fleet and our customers the wrong way, exceeding our allocation would have led to potentially harsh pay-back regulations in 2020. SEAGO appreciates ADFG’s work to get us very close to fully harvesting our allocation without going over.

SEAGO Saved Your King Season

If you had any problem dealing with the 2019 king regulations, consider where we could have been without the concerted efforts of SEAGO to work with ADFG and the Board of Fisheries. In January, ADFG responded to the new king salmon annex from the Pacific Salmon Commission with their Proposition 176 which included:
  • Reduced non-residents to a one-fish annual king limit starting June 16th
  • Complete king closure for non-residents July 1 through July 31
SEAGO dedicated endless hours of work and significant financial resources to dialogue with ADF&G and attend the Board of Fisheries meeting in January. We found a way to address the managers needs to keep us within allocation and avoid the most destructive regulations in Prop 176. We stepped forward for the charter industry and helped make the best of the tough situation we all face during this time of low king abundance.

SEAGO has since drafted additional modifications to the ADF&G proposal that seek to maintain king opportunity for non-residents when most needed while addressing requirements from the Board of Fisheries for resident angler and troll access to the resource.  SEAGO has set an April deadline to complete ADF&G analysis, and gather stakeholder feedback of the modified proposal in time for submission to the Board of Fisheries for its 2021 Southeast finfish meeting cycle. We want your thoughts and opinions. Email or call us at 907 723-1970.

King Abundance Rising? 
Catch Per Unit of Effort (CPUE) in the commercial troll fishery during the first eight weeks (fall and early winter) is the new index used to set annual king allocations in Southeast Alaska.  That window falls from October 11 to November 30 this year. More fish and a higher catch rate is the current word on the street. This isn’t surprising given that the number of kings we saw last summer appeared much greater than the forecast and they hung around until late in the season. Simple math – more kings mean better regulations. It’s too early to get overly optimistic, but at least some signs point to an upturn from the very low king abundance of the past few years.

38” Halibut Regulation Yields 18.9% Underage in Charter Harvest

Guided Sport Allocation-                   820,000 pounds
Guided Sport Estimated Catch-        665,000 pounds

Preliminary harvest data for the 2019 charter halibut season project guided angler harvest in 2C (Southeast Alaska) to be 18.9%, or roughly 155,000 pounds below our 820,000 pound catch limit.  Early data show:
  • 8,459 less fish harvested than projected
  • Average weight per halibut down over half a pound from model projections
  • Release mortality 38,000 pounds or 54% below model projections 
2C guided angler harvest has undershot allocation by an average of 43,000 pounds over the six years since implementation of the Catch Sharing Plan in 2014. Angler effort, which is a strong driver of harvest predictions, is difficult to model, as are other indicators like efficiency (angler harvest per unit of effort).  The trending difference between estimates and harvest by area may point to a lack of understanding of how your customers react to increasingly restrictive regulations.

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