(Juneau) â€“ The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced that under the guidelines of the abundance-based management system of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, this yearâ€™s all gear Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon harvest quota is 170,000 fish.Â This is a decrease of 159,400 fish from last yearâ€™s quota, and is the lowest catch level since 2000.
Utilizing data on the strength of West Coast Chinook salmon stocks that contribute to Southeast Alaska fisheries, the Pacific Salmon Commissionâ€™s Chinook Technical Committee has determined that the 2008 Abundance Index for Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska is 1.07. As specified in the 1999 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement, this translates into an allowable all-gear catch for Southeast Alaska of 170,000 treaty Chinook.Â Most Chinook salmon produced in Alaska hatcheries are not factored into the Abundance Index, and may be caught by harvesters in addition to the treaty limit.
Chinook salmon returns to many West Coast rivers from Oregon to Alaska have declined from the very high levels seen from 2003 to 2005.Â Â While the factors affecting the abundance of Chinook on the West Coast are complex, it is widely recognized that unfavorable ocean conditions in 2005 and 2006 likely were a significant cause of the poor survival of Chinook in the early part of their four to five year life-cycle.Â Some of these ocean conditions have moderated substantially and appear to be returning to a status more favorable to salmon populations.
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.