Low fish numbers force closure of king salmon fishing in part of Alaska

Sport fishing for wild king salmon will be closed in many parts of Southcentral Alaska due to dwindling fish numbers. (Bill Schaefer/Getty Images)
Sport fishing for king salmon is looking bleak in Southcentral after recent closures announced by the Department of Fish and Game.

All sport fishing for kings on the Kenai River, including catch and release, closed Wednesday. Farther to the north, king fishing have closed Friday morning on the Susitna and Little Susitna rivers, as well as the Big Su’s tributaries. A subsistence fishery on the Upper Yentna is also set to close early Monday.

The more recent closures follow earlier, broader restrictions for streams off the Parks Highway and elsewhere. Now, the popular Deshka River king salmon sport fishery is also closed.

“It is pretty widespread,” Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey said. “As far as I know, we’re the last area up here in the north to close to fishing for wild king salmon. The only fisheries open now are hatchery-stocked.”

Preserving fish and fishing

Biologists say fish counts have shown far fewer king salmon swimming upstream to breeding grounds than were expected. The closure notices say shutting down sport fishing for kings is necessary to protect fish numbers and fishing opportunities in the future.

The closures for the Susitna and Little Su rivers are set to run through July 13 and to the end of July for the Kenai River.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: From the Arctic to Atlantic, a photographer documents seal hunting in Canada, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Endangered Finnish seal population slowly recovering, Yle News

Norway: Will Russia ask Norway to cut crab fishing in Arctic fjord?, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia plans fenced parks to confine reindeer herding in Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Poachers suspected behind dwindling wolf numbers in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Trump admin pushes for looser rules on predator hunting in Alaska, Alaska Public Media

Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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