A Chinook salmon is seen in an undated photo. (Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)

A Chinook salmon is seen in an undated photo. (Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)

Salmon drift gillnet season ends with a hint at final numbers

King goals expected to be met in six of 11 index locations

Southeast salmon drift gillnet season officially closed Thursday and, with the announcement, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game released a brief summary of the season.

Detailed numbers will be released at the Drift Gillnet Task Force meeting on Nov. 28.

Aside from chum salmon, traditional drift gillnet harvests of all species were below 10-year averages, a period that encompasses 2013–2022, according to the release from the commercial fisheries division of ADFG.

At the same time, there were fewer fishers working. The total number of permits issued was 341, which is 20 less than last year. It’s also well below 391 permits, which is the 10-year average.

“We were looking at, for the most part, runs of all but chinook salmon, that were above average, or good — excellent, in terms of pink salmon,” said Troy Thynes, management coordinator for ADFG. “But due to conditions, price for fish, cost of fuel — it wasn’t worth it to go out there and fish.”

King or chinook salmon production continues to languish. Escapement goals, the hoped-for number of fish that return home to spawn, are likely to be met in six of the locations in the 11-index system. That includes the Alsek, Chilkat, Unuk, Chickamin, Blossum and Keta rivers.

Thynes said the low runs have persisted for the last six to seven years and that it is possible this year might actually end up “a little bit of improvement” thanks to some of the restrictions in place.

Other salmon species fared better, according to the preliminary overview.

Sockeye salmon escapement goals were achieved for the Chilkat, Chilkoot, Taku, Tahltan (Stikine) rivers, and McDonald Lake. However, goals were not met for Hugh Smith Lake. (Results are still pending for the Stikine River mainstem component.)

Coho salmon escapements are still being evaluated, but considered good. Wild chum salmon runs and hatchery runs were very good in “most areas.”

Pink salmon escapement was “uniformly good to excellent” throughout the region with “an all-gear harvest of around 48 million fish.” Some 44 of the 46 pink salmon stock groups being managed met or exceeded target ranges.

Detailed numbers also will be published in the annual management report of the 2023 Southeast Alaska commercial purse seine and drift gillnet fisheries.

• Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

A photo by Ben Huff being exhibited as part of his presentation at 6:30 p.m. at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Museum)
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday in March

Both the state and city museums are celebrating 20 years of artistic… Continue reading

Goose Creek Correctional Center is seen in fall. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Corrections)
Alaska prison failed to provide adequate dental care to inmates, state investigator finds

Goose Creek Correctional Center has gone years without a hygienist, forcing patients to wait

Jirdes Winther Baxter chats with Wayne Bertholl during her 100th birthday celebration Saturday at the Juneau Yacht Club. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Jirdes Winther Baxter, last survivor of 1925 Nome serum run, celebrates 100th birthday in Juneau

Five generations of family, dozens of friends and a coalition of political leaders offer tributes.

The Safeway supermarket in Juneau, seen here Oct. 4, 2023, is among those in Alaska that might be sold if its parent company, Albertsons Companies Inc., merges with Kroger Co., the parent company of Fred Meyer. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
US sues to block merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons, saying it could push prices higher

Eight states, not including Alaska, join lawsuit against parent companies of Fred Meyer and Safeway.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read