Sitka . . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the following information concerning the 2017 spring troll fishery:
The spring troll fishery in Southeast Alaska (SEAK) is designed to target Alaska hatchery-produced Chinook salmon. However, with similar migration corridors and return timing, wild stock SEAK originating Chinook are also harvested. The overall 2016 run to the 11 systems monitored for SEAK wild Chinook salmon is one of the lowest on record in 42 years of documented Chinook escapements. With arguably the poorest overall run on record in 2016, recurrent failures to meet lower bounds of escapement goal ranges in several systems, and with the 2017 pre-season forecasts below the lower bound of escapement goal ranges for the Situk, Alsek, Chilkat, Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers, time and area restrictions in specified fisheries will be implemented during the spring troll season to help reduce encounters of these Chinook stocks. These conservation restrictions will be implemented in, but are not limited to, select Chinook and chum fisheries within the Icy Strait/Cross Sound, Chatham Strait, Upper Sumner/Stikine/Zimovia Strait, and Lower Clarence Strait corridors. Restrictions will include one, or a combination, of the following 1) delayed initial opening date, 2) reduced opening length, 3) boundary area reductions. The affected spring areas and restriction types are as follows: Icy Strait/Cross Sound, Chatham Strait, Sumner/Stikine/Zimovia Strait, Lower Clarence Strait.
In addition to these restrictions, the Clarence Strait, Point Alava, West Behm Canal, and Baht Harbor fisheries will remain closed for the duration of spring.
Further details on these restrictions will be presented during the annual spring troll public meetings. A schedule of these meetings will be announced in a troll news release in late March.