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(a) The purposes of this management plan are to minimize the harvest of coho salmon bound for the Northern District of upper Cook Inlet and to provide the department direction for management of salmon stocks. The department shall manage the chum, pink, and sockeye salmon stocks primarily for commercial uses to provide commercial fisherman with an economic yield from the harvest of these salmon resources based on abundance. The department shall also manage the chum, pink, and sockeye salmon stocks to minimize the harvest of Northern District coho salmon, to provide sport and guided sport fisherman a reasonable opportunity to harvest these salmon resources over the entire run, as measured by the frequency of inriver restrictions, or as specified in this section and other regulations.
(b) The department shall manage the Northern District commercial salmon fisheries based on the abundance of Yentna River sockeye salmon, the Yentna River escapement goal, or other salmon abundance indices as it deems appropriate. Achievement of the lower end of the Yentna River optimal escapement goal shall take priority over not exceeding the upper end of the Kenai River escapement goal. When the sockeye salmon returns to the Kenai River are four million or greater, the optimal escapement goal is 75,000 to 180,000 sockeye salmon in the Yentna River.
(c) From July 20 through July 31, if the department's assessment of abundance indicates that restrictions are necessary to achieve the escapement goal, the commissioner may, by emergency order, close the commercial set gillnet fishery in the Northern District and immediately reopen the season during which the number of set gillnets that may be used is limited to the following options selected at the discretion of the commissioner:
(1) three set gillnets that are not more than 105 fathoms in aggregate length;
(2) two set gillnets that are not more than 70 fathoms in aggregate length;
(3) one set gillnet that is not more than 35 fathoms in length.
(d) In addition to the provisions specified in (b) and (c) of this section, the department shall manage the Northern District commercial salmon fisheries to minimize the incidental take of coho salmon stocks bound for the Northern District in the following manner:
(1) additional fishing periods, other than the weekly fishing periods described in 5 AAC 21.320(a) (1), may not be provided when coho salmon are expected to be the most abundant species harvested during that period; additional fishing periods may not be provided based on the abundance of Northern District coho salmon;
(2) after August 15, the department shall limit the harvest of coho salmon in the Northern District by limiting commercial fishing time to the weekly fishing periods described in 5 AAC 21.320(a) (1).
(e) Personal use fishing with a set gillnet is prohibited in the Northern District.
(f) The department shall, to the extent practicable, conduct habitat assessments on a schedule that conforms to the board's triennial meeting cycle. If the assessments demonstrate a net loss of riparian habitat caused by noncommercial fishermen, the department is requested to report those findings to the board and submit proposals to the board for appropriate modification of this management plan.
History: Eff. 5/31/96, Register 138; am 5/14/97, Register 142; am 6/13/99, Register 150; am 5/18/2000, Register 154; am 6/22/2002, Register 162; am 6/11/2005, Register 174
Authority: AS 16.05.060
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Last modified 7/05/2006