Southeast commercial trollers will soon take a break from the king salmon harvest, but the final target this year remains anyone’s guess.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced Tuesday (July 7) that the first king opening of the summer will close at midnight on Wednesday (July 8), after eight days of fishing.
That opening has been longer than many trollers expected. This year’s king salmon quota was the subject of a months-long dispute between Alaska and its neighbors to the south, including Canada, Washington and Oregon. Alaska challenged the pre-season forecast, which called for relatively low numbers of Chinook in Southeast. In the end, however, the state agreed to fish under the lower estimate, to remain in compliance with the U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty.
Still, Fish & Game hasn’t released a final number for this year’s king salmon quota, so it’s impossible to know how many kings the fleet is targeting. Even fishermen are in the dark.
Exact numbers on how many kings have been taken so far won’t be available for a few weeks, while the Department tabulates fish tickets. But Fish & Game expects a second king opening for trollers in August.