A king salmon is laid out for inspection by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during the Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 25, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)

A king salmon is laid out for inspection by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during the Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 25, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)

Emergency order bans king salmon fishing in many Juneau waters between June 24 and Aug. 31

Alaska Department of Fish and Game says low projected spawning population necessitates restrictions

This is a developing story.

Many Juneau-area waters will be closed to king salmon fishing starting Monday and remain closed until Aug. 31 due to a low projected spawning population, according to an emergency order announced Thursday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The ban applies to Auke Bay, Fritz Cove and Gastineau Channel, according to the department. In addition, snagging of all species is banned within a 300-yard radius of the dock at Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc.’s Macaulay Salmon Hatchery.

“Based on the low number of king salmon that have returned to the hatchery to date and low number of tagged Macaulay Hatchery king salmon recovered in both sport and commercial fisheries a low return of hatchery-produced king salmon is anticipated,” the order states. “These closures are necessary to protect broodstock needed for future production.”

“Hatchery-produced king salmon returning to the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery and Fish Creek Pond migrate through these areas and are vulnerable to harvest. These closures are necessary to ensure adequate broodstock is available to meet egg-take goals needed for future production.”

A map shows areas in the Juneau vicinity where king salmon fishing will be banned between June 24 and Aug. 31. (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

A map shows areas in the Juneau vicinity where king salmon fishing will be banned between June 24 and Aug. 31. (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

King salmon fishing in Lena Cove remains open, with a daily bag and possession limit of four fish of any size, according to the department’s announcement. King salmon harvested by nonresidents in that area do not count toward their annual limit.

The ban overlaps the dates for the 78th annual Golden North Salmon Derby, scheduled Aug. 9-11.

Similar shutdowns of both sport and commercial king salmon fishing have occurred in previous years in Juneau, as well as elsewhere in Southeast Alaska, due to low populations and what officials have called “poor ocean survival conditions.” In addition, legal challenges have threatened to disrupt fishing including a lawsuit that last year threatened to shut down the commercial king salmon season in Southeast Alaska until the trollers got a favorable late ruling.

Earlier this year a Washington state-based environmental group filed a petition asking the Biden administration to list Southeast Alaska king salmon as an endangered species.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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