In consultation with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (KRITFC) and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge Manager announces that, due to unusually low numbers of Chinook Salmon in the Bethel Test Fishery, no additional subsistence fishing opportunities have been declared at this time. The Refuge Manager, in consultation with the KRITFC and ADF&G will continue to assess in-season information on a regular basis and will provide a subsistence fishing opportunity as soon as conditions warrant.
The current Bethel Test Fishery cumulative catch per unit effort for Chinook Salmon is 28, as compared to 196 on this date in 2016 and 144 in 2015. Harvest estimates from this year’s June 12, 12-hour subsistence fishing opportunity indicate that 2,360 Chinook Salmon were harvested out of approximately 5,500 total salmon. This is in contrast to the subsistence harvest estimate from this same date last year, when 4,500 Chinook Salmon were harvested out of approximately 5,300 total salmon.
We appreciate everyone’s sacrifice during this time of uncertainty regarding the strength of our Chinook Salmon run. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is dedicated to conserving subsistence species and providing opportunities for the rural subsistence users on the Yukon Delta. This appears to be a time when we need to take a very conservative approach to fisheries management so we can continue to sustain healthy Chinook Salmon runs and provide subsistence opportunities into the future.
Access up-to-date information on fishing opportunities by visiting the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page or www.fws.gov/refuge/yukon_delta/. Questions? call the Refuge at (907) 543-3151 or at (800) 621-5804.
For more information contact Ken Stahlnecker, Refuge Manager at (907) 543-3151.
This News Release is from the Department of Interior/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Bethel, AK.