Board: Aye to Yukon pinks fishery

The Alaska Board of Fisheries finished its consideration of proposals from the Kuskokwim, Yukon and Norton Sound regions on Saturday.

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Pink salmon. U.S. Fish and Wildlife image.
Pink salmon. U.S. Fish and Wildlife image.

For the Yukon, the Board rejected a proposal to allow purse seining for summer chum salmon.

But the board unanimously supported a proposal laying the groundwork for a new pink salmon directed commercial fishery on the Yukon.

The pink run comes in strong on the Yukon in even-numbered years, and Board Vice Chairman John Jensen noted that managers should have plenty of flexibility to avoid king salmon in the early part of the pink season, or fall chum in the later part of the pink run.

“This might only be a week or two-week fishery, just to provide for the fishery and also to miss the other fish that might be intercepted that they don’t want to intercept.”

The pink salmon commercial fishery will only be allowed in District 1, and fishermen earlier told the board that the bycatch of king salmon should be minimal because pinks move in much shallower water than kings.

The Board also approved a controversial proposal aiming to reduce the pike population near Huslia. As originally written, the proposal would allow fishermen to set their nets all the way across Racetrack Slough [slew] and sloughs off of the Huslia River, in an effort to catch large numbers of pike when the fish are moving from lakes to the Koyukuk River.

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