Salmon trollers will not be able to target Taku River salmon this May.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced the 2014 Taku River large king salmon forecast yesterday (Tue 2-18-14), and predicts a run of only 26,800 fish. That’s just about 3,000 fish shy of what is required to allow trollers to target the early run.
Dave Harris, ADF&G’s Juneau area management biologist for commercial fisheries says the forecast is better than last year, but still poor.
“If the forecast was a higher number then it’s possible that we could have had fisheries. We might of had a one day a week gill-net fishery, or some such thing depending on how strong we anticipated return was,” says Harris. “More fish need to come back before we’d have directed fisheries.”
Biologists want between 19- and 36-thousand kings to reach their spawning grounds on the Taku. Last year, only about 18 thousand fish made it.
Harris says biologists will revise their forecast once the fish start returning in May. It’s still possible trollers could get their shot at Taku kings.
“Once that information is in hand, if it’s doing much better than we anticipate we could actually have fisheries at that point,” says Harris. “Or if it’s doing worse on the other hand we can be more conservative too.”
But, Harris is not particularly optimistic. He believes that it is unlikely that any directed king fisheries will occur in the Taku river district in 2014.