It looks like there won’t be a chinook subsistence fishery on the Stikine River this year.
Officials this week closed the annual opening, scheduled for May 15th to June 20th. The Stikine is a transboundary river flowing from British Columbia to the ocean near Wrangell and Petersburg.
Wrangell District Ranger Bob Dalrymple says the numbers are below what’s required under the Pacific Salmon Treaty between the United States and Canada.
“That treaty stipulates that a directed Chinook salmon subsistence fishery can’t be harvested if the preseason estimate is less than 28,100 chinooks,” he says.
The estimate is 22,400, about 3,600 fish, or 20 percent, below that level.
Dalrymple can authorize subsistence fishing during the season if the estimate exceeds 24,500 chinooks. He’s given that authority by the Federal Subsistence Board.
But he says another Stikine fishery is more important.
“In reality, the chinook salmon is not the targeted species for subsistence on the Stikine. It’s more of an incidental catch. The numbers are fairly low. The stronger fishery, the more targeted fishery, is for sockeye,” he says.
The chinook closure does not affect later Stikine subsistence fisheries.
The sockeye season runs June 21st through July. A coho season follows, from August through October.