This year’s improvement in king salmon returns in many stream systems across the state may not be the end of a prolonged period of low production and decreasing size.
River systems across Alaska have seen poor returns since 2007, and while Cook Inlet, the AYK delta area and many other systems saw improved runs this year, the Copper River and most of Southeast did not, said Ed Jones, the statewide Chinook salmon research coordinator, in a presentation to the Board of Fisheries at a Wednesday worksession in Soldotna. In some stream systems in Southeast, like the Taku River, escapement performances were the worst on record. Only three of the regions 11 king salmon goals met the minimum threshold this season, he said.
This is the first time the whole state has not trended the same way, he said.