8-Day SE Trolling Shutdown to Start Friday

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer

Southeast Alaska’s commercial troll salmon fishery will close for eight days, starting Thursday, due to low abundance of coho salmon, state Fish and Game officials announced today.

The fishery will reopen August 15, they said.

“The point of the closure is to try to move fish to the inside,” said ADFG Commercial Troll Management Biologist Grant Hagerman. “They’re not being exploited, they’re passing through the fishery... You’ve got this eight-day closure based on the below average (coho) catch rates and below average returns.”

Hagerman said coho catches were low in all six trolling areas.

“The catch per unit effort is more of an accurate picture of abundance,” he said. “So through the first four or five weeks they’ve been well below average in all of our big six troll areas... Each one has been below the long-term average by quite a bit, but the eight-day closure for the coho conservation was based on the poor catch rates and not a lot of fish on the inside.”

He said not only is abundance low, but the coho are smaller than average.

Hagerman said the five-year average weight is 5.6 pounds, but this year the average is only 4.8 pounds, a 17% reduction. He said that in addition, coho prices are down to $1.73 per pound, roughly a 20% drop from the five-year price average.

A troller cruises across Sitka Sound at dusk Friday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

King salmon were not spared from the decline in prices either, he said.

“The market has definitely been affected by the pandemic, especially in spring troll when there were all these restaurants that weren’t able to open,” he said.

The price paid for kings now stands at $4.76 per pound, down 20% from the average.

But Hagerman noted that king salmon abundance seems on target, and that 50,600 will be available in the August opener. Hagerman described this as “a pretty big number” for an August opener.

An ADFG press release states that the second king opener will likely last between four and six days.

“The retention period will be managed in season with no predetermined length and will be closed by emergency order. The department anticipates a relatively short opening, with the harvest target estimated to be taken in four to six days,” the announcement said.

Hagerman was optimistic about king salmon fishing in the second opener.

“There have been a lot of kings around, the catch rates were pretty good in the July opener,” he said. “And there have been reports of high encounters with chinooks. So if the weather is good I anticipate some really good catch rates...but weather can play a big factor in this August opener for sure,” he said.

The closure begins at 11:59 p.m. Thursday and runs through 12:01 a.m. on August 15. Hagerman added that some areas will remain open for fishing, mostly for chum salmon in terminal areas as part of the hatchery fishery.

These areas include West Crawfish and Crawfish Inlets, Hidden Falls, and part of Sitka Sound, among others. Full information and maps of the areas that will remain open for fishing during the closure are available at adfg.alaska.gov under the ‘Fishing’ tab.

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AK COVID-19

At a Glance

(updated 11-29-22)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:15 pm Tuesday, November 29.

New cases as of Tuesday: 414

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 286,561

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,399

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 4,195

Case Rate per 100,000 – 56.8

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 70.40

Cases in last 7 days – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,173

Hospitalizations (to date) – 31

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.

 

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20 YEARS AGO

December 2002

 Alaska Native Sisterhood will hold a Christmas bazaar Dec. 7 at the ANB Hall. Isabella’s famous clam chowder and fry bread also will be for sale.

 

50 YEARS AGO

December 1972

Photo caption: Presbyterian women of today wear costumes from 1877-1899 at Sunday’s service. From left are Alice Postell, Dorothy Streit, Gladys Whitmore, Carrie Maura, Harriet Hannigan, Eugenie Williams, Esther Littlefield, Isabel Miller, Marilyn Ryan, Esther Billman, Beverly Scholz, Gertie Zeiger, Marcia Strand and Betty Stratton. (Photo by Martin Strand)

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