Officials expect more king salmon in 2016

BETHEL — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is predicting a higher king salmon run this year than in previous years that will meet escapement and subsistence harvest demands.

Wildlife managers discussed the expectations and management strategies with fishery representatives along the Kuskokwim River last week in Bethel. Officials predict 2016 chinook numbers to range between 125,000 and 219,000 kings, with the drainage-wide escapement goal remaining at 65,000 to 120,000, KYUK-AM reported.

A state biologist said the total run size last year marked the eighth smallest on record but the largest since 2010.

In 2015, an estimated 150,000 king salmons escaped into their spawning grounds, exceeding the drainage-wide escapement goal by 30,000. Around 16,000 kings were harvested for subsistence during that time, more than in 2014 but less than the average subsistence needs of 84,000 for the entire Kuskokwim River.

Officials are expecting this year’s run to provide enough king salmon to meet escapement goals and subsistence needs.

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