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Bristol Bay sockeye fishery. (Photo: Wesley Loy)

Bristol Bay salmon run gets commercial forecast of 22 mln fish

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 04:00 (GMT + 9)

The world’s largest wild sockeye run in Bristol Bay, Alaska is now open for fishing with a commercial forecast of 21.7 million fish. The forecast Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run is expected to reach 32.3 million fish.

The salmon season has been open since 1 June, but this week marks the more-official start of the season: when all Bristol Bay commercial fishers must “drop their cards,” an official Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG) process that requires fishers to declare a district where they will be during the summer season.

In the Naknek/Kvichak District, officials expect to see an inshore run of about 15 million sockeye salmon this year with 9 million fish as the projected harvest: 3.2 million from the Kvichak River, 900,000 fish from the Alagnak River and 4.9 million from the Naknek River. The 2012 Kvichak River’s escapement goal will be 3.4 million salmon.

If the run exceeds the forecast amount, the inseason point goal will be modified to reflect the actual inseason run. The Naknek River escapement goal range is 800,000 to 1.4 million fish.

The Egegik District has a forecast run of about 6.7 million sockeye salmon this year, with an escapement goal range of 800,000 to 1.4 million fish. The expected surplus potentially available for harvest is some 5.4 million sockeye.

The Ugashik District is expecting a sockeye salmon run of 3.2 million fish in 2012. The escapement goal range is 500,000 to 1.2 million sockeye salmon and 2.1 million are potentially available for harvest.

Meanwhile, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report which argues that the proposal to mine for gold and copper near Bristol Bay will have harmful effects on both salmon populations and Seattle's fishing economy, Crosscut reports.

The proposed Pebble Mine would be the largest in North America -- and it would spew up to 10 billion tonnes of toxic mine waste which would be disposed of behind massive earthen dams. The EPA’s research shows that this process would pose a significant threat to the long-term health of the watersheds that support the salmon fishery.

Related articles:

Commercial fishers join hands to protect Alaska's Bristol Bay
Pebble mine is too risky for Alaska's Bristol Bay: report

By Natalia Real


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