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Preseason forecasts for king salmon returning to the Stikine and Taku Rivers in Southeast Alaska in 2013 will mean no directed fisheries in early May for either of these areas, state fisheries biologists say.
The 2013 preseason terminal run size forecast for large Stikine River king salmon is 22,400 fish, not sufficient for an allowable catch in either the United States or Canada, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists said. A year ago, the preseason forecast for the Stikine River was 40,800 kings.
An in-season terminal run estimate will be produced in late May. If the first in-season estimate is significantly greater than the preseason forecast, limited directed king salmon fisheries could occur.
Biologists said the forecast generated by the Stikine River king salmon forecast model produced a terminal run size estimate of 32,032 fish, compared with 48,036 Chinooks a year ago. Due to preseason forecasts consistent overestimation of the actual run size, this forecast was reduced by 30 percent. The preseason forecast has overestimated the run size for the past six years and has overestimated by an average of 32 percent over the past five years.
Biologists said other considerations for reducing the model produced forecast are the extremely low abundance of three-year-old king salmon in 2012 and the general poor performance of king salmon stocks throughout Alaska in recent years.
The 2013 preseason terminal run size forecast for large Taku River king salmon is 26,100 fish, not sufficient to provide for an allowable catch for either United States or Canadian harvesters, so no directed fisheries will occur there in early May either.
An in-season terminal run estimate will be produced in late May, and the department will continue to monitor the returning run strength, but it is unlikely any directed king fisheries will occur in District 11 in 2013, biologists said.
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