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(a) The purpose of this management plan is to provide guidelines for the rebuilding and management of the Kuskokwim River salmon fishery that will result in the sustained yield of salmon stocks large enough to meet the escapement goals, amounts necessary for subsistence, and for nonsubsistence fisheries.
(b) It is the intent of the Board of Fisheries that the Kuskokwim River salmon stocks shall be managed during June and July in a conservative manner consistent with the Policy for the Management of Sustainable Salmon Fisheries (5 AAC 39.222) and the subsistence priority.
(c) In the subsistence fishery, in the Kuskokwim River drainage, in the waters of the mainstem of the river and other salmon spawning tributaries, unless otherwise specified by the department,
(1) the subsistence salmon net and fish wheel fisheries will be open for four consecutive days per week in June and July as announced by emergency order; however, the commissioner may alter fishing periods by emergency order based on run strength and to achieve escapement goals;
(2) during subsistence closures of three consecutive days per week in June and July, all salmon nets with a mesh size larger than four inches must be removed from the water, and fish wheels may not be operated; however, the commissioner may alter fishing periods by emergency order based on run strength and to achieve escapement goals;
(3) as the salmon run progresses upstream from Districts 1 - 2, and further upstream, the provisions of (1) of this section will be implemented in the mainstem of the Kuskokwim River and salmon spawning tributaries;
(4) the commissioner may alter the subsistence hook and line bag and possession limits specified in 5 AAC 01.295 by emergency order, if the commissioner determines that inseason indicators indicate it is necessary for conservation purposes.
(d) In the commercial fishery,
(1) the commercial king salmon fishery is closed; the incidental catch guideline harvest level for king salmon taken during commercial fisheries on other species is 0 - 50,000 fish;
(2) only those waters of District 1 downstream of the ADF&G regulatory markers located at Bethel may be opened during the first commercial salmon fishing period;
(3) the commissioner shall open and close the Kuskokwim River commercial chum salmon fishery by emergency order; if inseason indicators of run strength indicate a run strength that is large enough to provide for a harvestable surplus and a reasonable opportunity for subsistence uses and for nonsubsistence fisheries, the subsistence fishing shall revert to the fishing periods as specified in 5 AAC 01.260;
(4) the department shall provide, to the extent practicable, at least 24 hours advance notice of the opening of Districts 1 and 2 to commercial fishing periods;
(5) Districts 1 and 2 commercial fishing periods are from 1:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m.; when longer fishing periods are allowed, the extra time is to be divided before 1:00 p.m. and after 7:00 p.m.;
(6) in June, and until coho salmon relative abundance exceeds chum salmon relative abundance, the department shall manage, to the extent practicable, the commercial salmon fishery based on the chum salmon run strength;
(7) the guideline harvest level for sockeye salmon is 0 - 50,000 fish;
(8) when chum salmon abundance is sufficient to provide for escapement and subsistence needs, and when coho salmon relative abundance exceeds chum salmon relative abundance, the department shall manage, to the extent practicable, the commercial salmon fishery based on the strength of the coho salmon run;
(9) when the chum salmon run is projected to be inadequate to meet escapement and subsistence needs, the department shall manage the commercial coho salmon fishery to minimize the incidental harvest of chum salmon and to provide for coho salmon escapement and subsistence needs;
(10) a person may not sell salmon roe taken in Districts 1 and 2.
(e) In the sport fishery,
(1) if the commissioner restricts the fishery by emergency order for conservation purposes, the restrictions will be based on the level of abundance;
(2) in the Aniak River drainage, the king salmon fishery will be open from May 1 through July 25, with a bag and possession limit of two fish, with an annual limit of two fish; the sockeye, pink, and coho salmon fisheries are open year round, with a bag and possession limit of three fish of each species; chum salmon may not be retained or possessed.
History: Eff. 6/10/87, Register 102; am 4/2/88, Register 105; am 6/14/90, Register 115; am 6/10/98, Register 146; am 6/17/2001, Register 158; am 7/8/2001, Register 159; am 5/19/2004, Register 170
Authority: AS 16.05.060
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Last modified 7/05/2006