The west side and south end of Kodiak Island opened to commercial sockeye salmon fishing Monday, but it looks like there might be less variety of certain fish ages.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Salmon biologist James Jackson says sockeye may spend a year to three years in the ocean and the three-year fish aren’t showing up in their typical numbers this year.
“There’s a fair component of [three-year ocean fish] usually, and we haven’t seen that, which is probably why, although we’ve been achieving our escapement, there really hasn’t been much in the way of overall harvest.”
Jackson says the same nearshore, warm-ocean environment responsible for the poor pink salmon return in 2016 may be one reason for the smaller number of three-year fish.
He adds that most of Kodiak’s runs are comprised of fish that have spent two years in the ocean, which is probably why Kodiak’s larger river systems have met escapement.
The opening on the west side and south end of the island closes Wednesday, but Jackson says there’s a chance of extension.