Anchorage AK – In an effort to conserve the Kenai River king salmon population for future generations of Alaskans, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closing sport fishing for king salmon on the Kenai River and in marine waters of Cook Inlet north of Bluff Point and is closing all commercial set net fisheries on the east side of Upper Cook Inlet effective 12:01am, Friday, July 24th, 2020. This action is in accordance with management plans approved by the Alaska Board of Fisheries this past spring aimed at rebuilding this iconic king salmon run.
“Alaska has led the salmon producing provinces by example when it comes to sustainable management of our salmon populations. Most often, that our active management has produced abundance and consequential increased harvest upon which our economy has capitalized and thrived.
Unfortunately, we are not projecting to meet the minimum escapement goal for late run Kenai River king salmon and now sustainable management mandates that we act just as decisively to conserve this great resource. We understand that our actions comes with a great cost and hardship to many individuals and businesses, but we have to take these actions to ensure fishing opportunities for future generations of Alaskans in all associated industries,” said ADF&G Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang. “The Kenai River king salmon are experiencing an extended period of low productivity and restricting the fisheries is necessary to ensure their sustainability.”
ADF&G manages Kenai River late-run king salmon under regulations prescribed in the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries last year to ensure adequate escapement of late-run king salmon into the Kenai River system. The optimal escapement goal (OEG) for late-run king salmon is 15,000 to 30,000 large king salmon (75 cm mid eye to tail fork