Board of Fisheries Changes Yukon Regulations

Just two weeks ago the Alaska Board of Fisheries took action on a number of Yukon-specific management proposals. With an eye on conservation, the board adopted new regulations that will affect the way you fish this coming season.

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME DIVISION OF COMMERCIAL FISHERIES NEWS RELEASE
Cora Campbell, Commissioner Jeff Regnart, Director

Contact:
Jeff Estensen, Area Management Biologist
Eric Newland, Area Management Biologist
Phone: (907) 267-2217
Fax: (907) 267-2442

Anchorage Regional Office
333 Raspberry Road Anchorage, AK 99518
Date Issued: 1/25/2013

2013 Yukon River Summer Salmon Fishery News Release # 1 Yukon Area Regulatory Changes
Districts Affected: Yukon River Area

YUKON AREA REGULATORY CHANGES
The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) met in Anchorage from January 15 to January 20 to review regulatory fisheries proposals concerning the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim areas. The board considered several proposals that addressed providing summer chum salmon commercial fishing opportunity while conserving king salmon, and management plans for king, summer chum, and fall chum salmon. The following is a brief summary of the stock of concern status and regulatory changes the board adopted for the Yukon Area. The regulatory changes established by the board will become effective for the 2013 fishing season.

STOCK OF CONCERN STATUS
The board continued the stock of yield concern designation for Yukon River king salmon.

SUBSISTENCE
Proposal 98–Reduce northern pike bag and possession limits for subsistence fishermen in the Yukon River from Holy Cross to Paimiut Slough. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 99–Repeal regulation prohibiting the subsistence retention of northern pike in portions of the Tanana River drainage from Cathedral Rapids to Kantishna River (excluding waters within the Fairbanks Nonsubsistence Area). Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 100–Allow retention of northern pike in the Yukon and Tanana rivers subsistence salmon fisheries. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 99.

Proposal 130–Review amounts reasonably necessary (ANS) for subsistence salmon in Yukon- Northern Area. ANS range was established for pink salmon (2,100–9,700), no other changes were adopted to the other species-specific ranges. Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 139–Align Yukon subsistence regulations in Districts 1–3 with current management practices, adjusting closures around commercial fishing periods, and allowing concurrent subsistence and commercial fishing by emergency order (EO). Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 140–Revert back to a windows-only fishing schedule in the Yukon River. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 139.

Proposal 141–Allow for concurrent subsistence and commercial fishing periods in Districts 1–3 of the Yukon River Area. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 139.

Proposal 142–Open Yukon River District 5-D from July 4–18 for subsistence fishing. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 131.

Proposal 143–Remove restrictions during the subsistence fall chum season in Districts 1, 2, and 3 of the Yukon Area. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 144–Restrict gillnets to 35 meshes in depth in the Yukon River drainage. Proposal failed 1-5.

Proposal 145–Restrict depth of subsistence and commercial nets in Districts 1–5 to 35 meshes. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 144.

Proposal 146–Allow only 6-inch stretched mesh gillnet gear in the Yukon River drainage. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 147–Allow drift gillnets as legal gear in the subsistence fishery in subdistricts 4-B and 4-C of the Yukon River, upriver to the community of Ruby. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 148–Extend subdistricts 4-B and 4-C drift gillnet area downstream from the mouth of the Yuki River for king salmon. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 147.

Proposal 149–Create a harvest reporting system for subsistence-taken salmon in the Yukon River. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 150–Create a harvest reporting system for subsistence-taken salmon in the Yukon River. No action taken based on action taken on Proposal 149.

Proposal 151–Require primary use of subsistence-caught salmon within the Yukon Area be for direct personal or family consumption as food. Proposal failed 0-6.

COMMERCIAL
Proposal 131–Yukon River King Salmon Management Plan. Require pulse protection in the king salmon management plan. After initiating the pulse closure, the department may discontinue subsistence fishing closures based upon inseason run assessment. Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 132–Yukon River King Salmon Management Plan. Prohibit sale of king salmon from the Yukon River drainage unless there is a directed king salmon commercial fishery. Sale of king salmon will be prohibited at the start of the commercial fishing season. The department may allow sale of king salmon by emergency order based upon inseason run assessment. Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 133–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Allow for a directed chum salmon commercial fishery in Districts 1, 2, and 3 in the Yukon Area during times of king salmon conservation using 5 1⁄2-inch or smaller mesh size not exceeding 30 meshes in depth. This provides an additional mesh size option to allow opportunity to harvest summer chum salmon. Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 134–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Require 6-inch or smaller mesh gillnets, with a maximum depth of 30 meshes, during June to July in District 1 if king salmon are a stock of concern and revert back if king salmon are no longer a stock of concern. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 135–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Allow for a commercial summer chum salmon fishery with 6-inch or smaller mesh size in District 1 in the Yukon River, beginning July 1, and allow for additional fisheries upriver chronologically during times of conservation of king salmon. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 136–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Cap incidental harvest of king salmon in the summer chum fishery in Districts 1 and 2 at 2,000. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 137–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Develop an optimum escapement or inriver goal for the Yukon River summer chum salmon stock that originates above Pilot Station. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 138–Fall Chum Salmon Management Plan. Modify the fall chum salmon management plan trigger point from 500,000 to 400,000. Proposal failed 0-6.

Proposal 152–Open Acharon Channel in the Yukon River drainage to salmon fishing. District 1 boundaries were redefined to include the coastal waters adjacent to the south mouth of the Yukon River from Chris Point south to Black River. Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 240–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Establish times when a commercial gillnet permit holder in the Lower Yukon Area Districts 1–3 may use dip net and beach seine gear to commercially harvest chum salmon during the summer season. All king salmon caught in dip net and beach seine gear must be returned to the water immediately alive. Beach seine mesh size was specified to be a maximum of 4 inches. Dip net specifications can be found in 5AAC 39.105. (24). Proposal passed 6-0.

Proposal 241–Summer Chum Salmon Management Plan. Provide the department emergency order authority to restrict gear to fish wheels only, require fish wheels to be closely attended, and live- release of king salmon in District 6 during times necessary to conserve king salmon. Additionally, fish wheel construction specifications were adopted to reduce the potential for injury king salmon may incur while being captured and released. Proposal passed 6-0.

SPORT
Proposal 154–Close the Black River (in the Porcupine River drainage) and its tributaries to sport fishing for king salmon. Proposal failed 0-6.

Any questions regarding these regulatory changes in the Yukon Area can be directed to either Eric Newland (907) 267-2217 in Anchorage or Jeff Estensen (907) 459-7274 in Fairbanks. When final regulations are published in the spring of 2013, the department will provide further information to the public.
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Click here to download the official PDF News Release.