Upper Cook Inlet Commercial Fishing Announcement No. 31 opens commercial fishing with set gillnets in the Kenai, Kasilof, and East Foreland sections of the Upper Subdistrict from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, 2016. Drift gillnetting will be open in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof sections of the Upper Subdistrict and in the Anchor Point Section of the Lower Subdistrict (Figure 1) from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.
The estimated passage of sockeye salmon into the Kenai River through Sunday, August 7, was 1.15 million fish. This rate of passage projects final passage will be 1.4–1.5 million sockeye salmon. The inriver goal range for Kenai River sockeye salmon in 2016 is 1.1–1.35 million fish. Therefore, without additional harvest of Kenai River sockeye salmon stocks, the inriver goal range is projected to be exceeded.
According to 5 AAC 21.359 Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, from August 1 through August 15, if the projected escapement of king salmon into the Kenai River is at least 16,500 fish, but less than 22,500 fish, notwithstanding the provisions of 5 AAC 21.360(c)(1)(B), (2)(B), and (3)(B), the commissioner may open, by emergency order, the commercial set gillnet fishery in the Upper Subdistrict to no more than 36 additional hours of fishing time. From August 3–7, a total of 36 hours was fished in the Upper Subdistrict set gillnet fishery. This additional 12-hours of fishing time beyond the 36 hour limitation is being provided under the authority of 5 AAC 21.363(e) Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Management Plan that states that the department it to achieve established escapement goals, including inriver goals, as their primary objective.