December 12, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 50

Stikine king preseason forecast similar to recent years

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced a preseason run size for Stikine River king salmon at 26,000 fish.

Because the size of the forecast is small there will be no directed fisheries in early May.

Tom Kowalske, ADFG assistant area management biologist in Wrangell, said estimated run sizes have recently been reduced by nearly half.

“For the past seven years the run size was overestimated by an average of 45 percent or so,” Kowalske said.

The Stikine River king salmon forecast model initially produced an estimated run size of 37,700 fish. The 26,000 forecast is the result of reducing the original estimate by 45 percent.

“Last year when they determined the run was going to be 32,000 they deducted 30 percent from that then publically announced 22,000 and we ended up with about 22,000,” Kowalske said.

Stikine king salmon harvests have hovered around 20,000 to 30,000 fish during the past four years. Before 2009, run sizes were estimated to be around 40,000 to 90,000.

According to an ADFG news release, other considerations taken into account for reducing the model produced forecast includes a poor confidence in the 2013 age 1.2 kings abundance estimate—smaller fish that lived for one year in freshwater and two in salt water.

If the first in season estimate is significantly greater than the preseason forecast, limited directed commercial king salmon fisheries could occur.

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