Yukon River Salmon In-Season Management Teleconference Summary – Call #1 Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Background: In-season salmon management teleconferences are held Tuesdays in June, July, and August for fishing villages and managers in the Yukon River drainage to discuss fishing conditions and management strategies as the salmon run is occurring. The teleconferences are funded by the Office of Subsistence Management and the Yukon River Panel.

Call summary: The call started with a discussion on salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea and was presented by Nicole Kimball, the Federal Fisheries Coordinator in the Commissioner’s office for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and Diana Stram, Plan Coordinator for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (the Council). They discussed the Council’s role and work on salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea, reviewed current Chinook salmon bycatch numbers, observer coverage in the pollock fishery, current management measures and next steps the Council is taking to review Chinook salmon bycatch.

Staff representatives from Senator Begich’s office discussed their plans for the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization. Listening sessions have already started to take place and will continue with one in Fairbanks on July 3 to talk about subsistence fisheries issues. Stay tuned for more information about this meeting and other hearings planned in near future.

Eric Newland with the ADF&G gave an update on the 2013 fisheries outlook for Chinook salmon.

Public comments, questions, and answers:
Is there an Elders only program on the Yukon River for certain fishing times and gear? Management said that no, there are no exceptions for Elders to fish on the Yukon River. Any radio ads people may be hearing are for the Kuskokwim River.

People in the lower river asked about the start of the schedule and if the start can be delayed because there is still ice and breakup occurring on the lower river Y-1 fishing district. Management said that people could still use 6 inch or smaller nets to go Sheefish fishing and that they were leaving the schedule as is to stay consistent.

People inquired about the sonar program, the locations of sonar and plans for new sites. Additional comments were made about the need to conserve the critical Chinook salmon of the Yukon River.

For further information, please contact the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association at 907-272-3141, extension 102 for Jill Klein or look for us on the web at www.yukonsalmon.org.

For information on the Alaskan fishing schedule, call the toll-free number of 1-866-479-7387. All teleconferences are scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. Alaska time (2 p.m. Yukon time) during June, July and August. The toll free number is 1-800-315-6338 and the code is 98566#.