Chinook (or king) salmon are one of our state’s most prized fish, caught by subsistence, commercial, and sport fishermen each summer as the fish return home to Alaska. However, dramatic declines in Chinook salmon populations in recent years have necessitated closures in many Chinook salmon fisheries throughout the State. Closures of subsistence, commercial and sport fisheries have caused severe impacts for communities who depend on salmon for sustenance, cultures and economies. While bycatch alone is not responsible for the declines, in these times of low Chinook salmon returns it is critical that every source of mortality be reduced.
Over the years, AMCC has had success reducing bycatch levels of Chinook salmon. Some major accomplishments include:
- In 2013, AMCC helped set a limit on king salmon bycatch in all other Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries to a cap of 7,500 kings. With support from AMCC and fishermen, the Alaska State Senate passed a resolution calling for a bycatch cut.
- Working together, AMCC and fishermen pressed the NPFMC to adopt the first-ever Chinook bycatch cap in the Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery in 2011. The cap was set at 25,000 kings.
While these bycatch caps have been put in place in western and south central Alaska, AMCC continues to work on bringing bycatch caps down to lower levels, because we realize that in communities throughout Alaska, every king counts.