What to do when the Kenai River late-run king salmon may not meet escapement is up for discussion in Anchorage, in hopes that users and managers can find a solution before the start of the 2013 fishery.
The Board of Fisheries will take up the Cook Inlet issue at its statewide finfish meeting March 19 to 24, with discussion on the late-run management plan scheduled to come up March 20.
A task force comprised of fisheries users, and co-chaired by board members Vince Webster and Tom Kluberton, has made several recommendations that will be considered during discussion of a placeholder proposal to address the management plan.
The task force did not come to consensus on most issues, but did agree to recommend a July 21 trigger date for management measures and to manage the East Side setnet fishery by emergency order for harvesting sockeye salmon when there is a possible shortfall of kings.
The task force also discussed, but did not agree on, an optimal escapement goal of 13,000 to 30,000 fish, and various paired restrictions for in-river and ocean users. Those include restricting to no bait, a cap on fishing time for setnetters, going to catch-and-release at a certain point for sport fishermen, and restrictions for the marine sport fishery.
The board could adopt the management measures discussed by the task force, come up with its own ideas, or wait until the Cook Inlet board meeting in 2014 to take any action.
Kenai River king management is just one of 29 proposals up for the board's consideration at the statewide meeting.
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