Fish and Game Ramping Up King Salmon Study

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Jay Barrett/KMXT
As part of the State of Alaska’s effort to better track king salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is requiring off-shore anglers to keep the head and tail on any kings they catch until they get back to Kodiak. Donn Tracy, the Kodiak Area Sportsfish Management Biologist, explains the emergency order to retain the head and tails of king salmon are to facilitate measuring the fishes’ length, obtain a scale sample, and to find a coded wire tag embedded in the heads of some of the kings when they were small. Those fish can be identified because their adipose fins have been clipped.
He said Fish and Game will have employees circulating through all of Kodiak’s public docks and out on the base, to meet sport anglers when they return.
Tracy says about 7,000 king salmon are caught by sport anglers in Kodiak Island waters, but he’s not expecting to get samples from all of them, but said 1,000 or more would be great.
He said the information collected will not be used for catch allocation – that Fish and Game is only interested in the genetic stock composition.
The emergency order prohibiting de-heading kings goes into effect on May 31st. Tracy added that the fish can be gutted and cleaned onboard before returning to port to help preserve their freshness.

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