This past weekend the Inner Kitoi Bay in Afognak was open briefly for the commercial fishing of Chum salmon.
Over the weekend, fishermen gathered at Kitoi Bay in Afognak for the launch of a flare. It marked the opening of the Inner Kitoi Bay section for commercial chum salmon fishing and it was only open for 6 hours. It’s the first time this area’s been open in July for several years.
The chum salmon hatchery located in the Inner Kitoi Bay collected their target number of salmon for their brood stock. Once this goal was reached there were still plenty of chum, also known as dogs, left in the bay. So the Alaska Department of Fish & Game decided to open it up for commercial fishing. According to James Jackson, a local ADF&G biologist, they haven’t been able to do this for awhile.
“This time of year, typically last few years the runs been fairly weak. This a nice little bonus to have actually have a decent return come back. Usually we’re closed and trying to get brood stock. But this year they had a nice pulse of fish come in and they had extra fish, so we were able to mop those up at Kitoi the past few days.”
Fishermen harvested 90,000 chum while the Inner Kitoi Bay was open. This area isn’t the only place on Kodiak that’s having a great chum season. According to Jackson, Kodiak is seeing a lot of chum this year.
“On average, in the Kodiak area, we typically for this date, have harvested 239,000, 240,000 dogs. We’ve got, you know, nearly 750,000. So a lot of dogs this year. It’s the year of the dog.”
Jackson doesn’t think the Inner Kitoi Bay will be reopened for commercial chum fishing again this season. This is because enough of the excess chum were mopped up over the weekend.