Stikine Subsistence Closed To Chinook Harvest

It looks like there won’t be a Chinook subsistence fishery on the Stikine River this year.

 Officials this week closed the annual opening, scheduled for May 15th to June 20th. (The Stikine is a transboundary river flowing from British Columbia to the ocean near Wrangell and Petersburg.)

 Bob Dalrymple  of the Wrangell Ranger District says the numbers are below what’s required under the Pacific Salmon Treaty (between the United States and Canada. “That treaty stipulates that a directed chinook salmon subsistence fishery can’t be harvested if the preseason estimate is less than 28,100 chinook. “

The estimate is about 3,600 fish, or 20 percent, below that level.

Dalrymple  can authorize subsistence fishing during the season if the estimate exceeds 24,500 Chinooks. He’s given that authority by the Federal Subsistence Board.

But he says another Stikine fishery is more important.

“In reality the chinook salmon is not the targeted species for subsistence on the Stikine. It is more of an incidental catch, the numbers are fairly low. The stronger fishery, the more targeted fishery, is for sockeye. “

The Chinook closure does not affect later Stikine subsistence fisheries.

The Sockeye season runs June 21st through July. A Coho season follows, from August through October.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.