Chinook Research Paper

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Over the last few decades, populations of Chinook – or King – Salmon have dropped to all time lows in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Three years ago the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) significantly tightened their restrictions on King Salmon fishing in general and particularly a type of fishing called setnetting (where fishermen employ large nets to catch massive quantities of fish). Since then the King Salmon numbers have been slowly rising to 24,000 fish last season and projections for this year hover around 30,000 Kings expected. The article from the Alaska Journal of Commerce entitled “Larger Expected King Run Loosens Restrictions on Setnets, Drifters” reports that due to these recently optimistic projections, the ADFG will allow …show more content…
Its acclaim was derived from the extreme natural abundance of the halibut and four species of salmon that live there. Each summer, Sockeye, Coho, Chum and Chinook salmon migrate upstream by the millions to reproduce. A similar migration cycle of sport fishing tourism each year travels to the Kenai peninsula, bringing in millions of dollars to the local economy. Each fisherman arrives to the beautiful area with the hopes of landing a King. In native Inuit culture the Chinook Salmon has always been the King of the many rivers that penetrate Alaska’s large land mass – earning its nickname. Renowned for their immense size, difficulty to catch, and delicious meat, it has always been clear that this species is supreme. However, over the last twenty five years, for reasons largely unknown, the King Salmon has seen its return dwindle to all time lows of which reached an all time low of 16,871 fish in 2014 (ADFG). That year was the second that major restrictions on setnetting had been in place. As recently as 1990, Kenai King runs had exceeded these numbers by a factor of more than …show more content…
In the summer of 2014, I worked as a salmon fishing guide on the Yukon and Tanana rivers in the interior of the state. That summer in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game closed the Yukon River for King Salmon fishing for the entire summer. I was able to see for myself the harm that this type of change did to the community; both the native and non-native denizens of the area saw businesses struggle, and cultural impediments with this change. One that jumps out as significant was at the annual Nuchalawoyya celebration. Typically this three-day native festival is full of fresh King Salmon being traditionally cooked to serve to the several villagers in attendance. In 2014 there were only six salmon, which were frozen from the previous season in light of the local fishing ban. This temporary hold on all salmon fishing was difficult, but taken well as it is necessary to rebuild the fishery. Mayor Jon Korta of Galena (a small village on the Yukon) described local fishermen already voluntarily cutting back on the number of Kings each season in an effort to protect one of the state’s most valuable resources (Mowry et al). This fact that such drastic action was necessary, and the local response to it on the Yukon should be an example for the ADFG when handling similar problems on the Kenai Penisula. It further proves that King salmon fishing

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